Air pollution linked to kids' disability
Australian-led research has found air pollution may increase the risk of intellectual disabilities in kids.
UK children with intellectual disabilities are more likely than their peers to live in areas with high outdoor air pollution, according to the study.
The findings come from an analysis of data on more than 18,000 UK children born in 2000 to 2002.
Averaging across ages, children with intellectual disabilities were 33 per cent more likely to live in areas with high levels of diesel particulate matter, 30 per cent more likely to live in areas with high levels of nitrogen dioxide, 30 per cent more likely to live in areas with high levels of carbon monoxide, and 17 per cent more likely to live in areas with high levels of sulphur dioxide.
The authors note that intellectual disability is more common among children living in more socio-economically deprived areas, which tend to have higher levels of air pollution; however, exposure to outdoor air pollution may impede cognitive development, thereby increasing the risk of intellectual disability.
“We know that people with intellectual disabilities in the UK have poorer health and die earlier than they should. This research adds another piece to the jigsaw of understanding why that is the case and what needs to be done about it,” said lead author Dr Eric Emerson from the University of Sydney.