Numerous studies highlight the importance of air quality and now new research has linked air pollution to intellectual disabilities in children…

Poor air quality has been linked to a number of health conditions and diseases, like heart disease, asthma and even obesity.

Now new research has found that children with intellectual disabilities are more likely than their peers to live in areas with high outdoor air pollution.

These are the findings from an analysis of data extracted from the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative sample of more than 18 000 UK children born from 2000 to 2002.

Heart attack risk increased by air pollution and traffic noise

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Averaging across ages, children with intellectual disabilities were…

  • 33 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of diesel particulate matter
  • 30 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of nitrogen dioxide
  • 30 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of carbon monoxide
  • 17 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of sulphur dioxide

Outdoor air pollution may impede cognitive development

The authors note that intellectual disability is more common among children living in more socioeconomically deprived areas, which tend to have higher levels of air pollution. However, exposure to outdoor air pollution may impede cognitive development, thereby increasing the risk of intellectual disability.

“We know that people with intellectual disabilities in the UK have poorer health and die earlier than they should. This research adds another piece to the jigsaw of understanding why that is the case and what needs to be done about it,” says lead author Dr Eric Emerson, of The University of Sydney, in Australia.

Source: Wiley via www.sciencedaily.com

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