Pollution may impact children's future IQ

July 23, 2009

Pollution and pregnant women don't mix, and can severely impact children's IQ, according to a new environmental study.

Pollution and pregnant women don't mix, and can severely impact children's IQ, according to a new study of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health published in Pediatrics.

The 5-year study observed 249 children in the Harlem and Bronx areas of New York, and found that environmental pollutant exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) adversely affected intelligence quotient.

Children who were exposed to the highest levels of pollutants had an IQ that was up to 4.67 points lower than other non-exposed children.

"This finding is of concern because IQ is an important predictor of future academic performance, and PAHs are widespread in urban environments and throughout the world," said Frederica Perera, the study's lead author.