When children are exposed to toxic air in their homes, they are likely to obtain lower grades or Grade Point Averages (GPAs), according to a new study.
In the study, University of Texas at El Paso researchers analyzed academic performance and socio-demographic data for 1,895 fourth and fifth grade children. They used the Environmental Protection Agency's National Air Toxics Assessment to estimate children's exposure to toxic air pollutants, such as diesel exhaust, around the location of their homes.
Children who were exposed to high levels of motor vehicle emissions from cars, trucks and buses on roads and highways were found to have significantly lower GPAs. Author Sara E. Grineski said that some evidence suggested that this association might exist because of illnesses, such as respiratory infections or asthma. Air pollution makes children sick, which leads to absenteeism and poor performance in school.
Grineski added that the other hypothesis was that chronic exposure to air toxics could negatively affect children's neurological and brain development. The study is published in the Journal Population and Environment