Researchers asked minority women in New York City to wear personal air monitors during their pregnancies and then followed their children until the age of five. They found that even after accounting for other factors like the mother’s intelligence, children who had high levels of pollution exposure tested lower on a standard IQ test than children who were less exposed.
The pollutant responsible is called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, and it comes from burning fossil fuels. The study adds to a growing body of research that shows how air pollution can affect childhood development.
Read the study abstract online here.