Are you living close to a major highway? It can put your child at risk of developmental delays.
Some researchers studied the proximity of children to interstate and state highways, and estimated their exposure to air pollution. The study found that children who lived within 500 m from the highway were twice as likely to fail in verbal and nonverbal communication skills when compared to those who lived 1000 m away.
The researchers studied 5,825 children, between eight months and three years of age, living in New York state, outside of New York City.
The results were associated with higher ozone and particulate pollution levels. In fact, prenatal exposure to both during “various pregnancy windows had weak but significant associations with failing any developmental domain.” Daily postnatal ozone exposure, on the other hand, was associated with “failing the overall screening by eight months.”
“Our study does not prove cause and effect. It doesn’t mean that delayed development is inevitable in a child living near a highway. But it is a good idea to minimise exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and early life,” lead author, Sandie Ha, assistant professor, University of California, said.