New York: Air pollution can not only affect
one`s respiratory system, it can lead to lower IQ levels among
kids, a new study claims.
According to the study carried out in New York City,
five-year-olds who were exposed to higher levels of urban air
pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
while in the womb exhibited an IQ four points lower than those
subjected to less PAH.
The pollutants also negatively affected their vocabulary
and reaction times, the study said.
"Alarmingly, the drop was similar to that seen in
exposure to low levels of lead," said epidemiologist Frederica
Perera, who led the study.
"These weren`t even super impressively high levels of
pollution" but the dip in IQ level was enough to affect school
performance and scores on standardised tests, Perera said.
Most PAH pollutants -- black carbon and other particulate
matter -- come from motor vehicle emissions, especially
diesel- and gas-powered cars and trucks, and from the burning
Perera suggested that by limiting outdoor physical
activity on smoggy days and adopting better policies on
traffic congestion, we can reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.