Children exposed to air pollution on their way to school have stunted cognitive development and memory problems, study finds

There is a possibility that polluted air may be impairing your child’s cognitive function. A new study finds that children who walk to school are exposed to a greater amount of air pollution and thus are at an increased risk of a weakened memory and slowed down cognitive development, as reported by the Science Daily.

Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain, analyzed the effect fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which are fine inhalable particles of pollution, and black carbon had on children who walked to school. The team observed more than 1,200 school children between the ages of seven and 10 from 39 schools. All of the participants walked to school everyday. Researchers evaluated their working memory and attention capacity multiple times for a year. Moreover, they calculated the children’s exposure to air pollution based on the estimated levels on the shortest walking route to their school, also for a year.

The findings, published in Environmental Pollution, revealed that there is a link between a reduction in the development of working memory and exposure to PM2.5 and black carbon. Moreover, the study found that boys were much more vulnerable to the effects of PM2.5 and black carbon than girls.

Meanwhile, the researchers did not find any link between exposure to the pollutants studied and attention