Study Links Air Pollution to ADHD

A new study indicates a link between air pollution and ADHD in children.

It’s a study that experts say should give pregnant women in urban areas something to think about.

Researchers at Columbia University have detected a potential link between air pollution in densely populated areas in New York City and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children.

And they zeroed in on what they call PAH or Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons which are urban air pollutants emitted from diesel trucks and buses, oil burners for heating and power plants.

Perera says “All of these sources are very common in urban areas and we were concerned about learning more about what those effects might be”.

From 1998 to 2006, they followed 233 nonsmoking pregnant women for nine years. They took blood samples from the umbilical cords after delivery and assessed children every year to see if they exhibited signs of ADHD—like being inattentive, easily distracted, disorganized, impulsive or hyperactive.

“Children of mothers who were exposed to high levels of PAH during pregnancy had five times the odds of having increased number and degree of behavioral problems,” Perera says.

“This is the first study that has look at this particular class of pollutants,” Perera says.

It’s also one of the few studies to attempt to link that class of pollutants with ADHD.

Columbia researchers say more research is needed to fully understand how and why pollutants what cause behavior problems in children.

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