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Video: Children Who Live Near Major Roads Are More Likely To Lag Behind In Development
Children who live near major roads are more likely to lag behind in development
Children who live near major highways are at increased risk for more than just physical illness. They have found that they are about twice as likely to get lower scores on tests of communication skills compared to those who live further from the roads.
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Children who live near major highways are at increased risk for more than just physical illness. They have found that they are about twice as likely to get lower scores on tests of communication skills compared to those who live further from the roads. This is evidenced by the American scientific work, the results of which are published in the journal Environmental Research.
In addition, children of women who were exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of road traffic pollutants (ultrafine particles [ULP] and ozone) were more likely to experience developmental delays in infancy and early childhood.
“Our results indicate that exposure to air pollution should be minimized during pregnancy and during infancy and early childhood, which are all key periods in a child's brain development,” said Dr. Pauline Mendola, lead author of the study.
Previous research has linked pregnant women with exposure to the most common air pollutants to low birth weight, premature birth, and stillbirth. Some studies have found an increased risk of autism and cognitive decline in children living near motorways. But research on how exposure to air pollution can affect a child's development has been controversial.
In the course of this study, scientists compared the addresses of 5,825 children with their distance from major roads. They then matched the mother's home and work address during pregnancy with EPA data on air pollution in the area. They correlated the obtained data with the results of tests for assessing the child's development: fine motor skills, motor skills, communication, socialization and the ability to solve problems.
Compared to children living 800 meters and further from motorways, children living closer than 500 meters from the road were twice as likely to fail at least one communication test.
The researchers also assessed the effects of ozone and ultrafine respirable particles from the combustion of vehicle fuels. Small respirable particles 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair - they can pass through the protective barriers of the lungs and be absorbed directly into the blood.
According to the authors, the results showed that exposure to air pollution in early childhood can lead to a higher risk of developmental delays compared to similar exposures in the womb, which serves as a barrier in their path. The research is associative and therefore cannot prove cause and effect. The authors noted that larger studies are needed to validate their findings.
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