Traffic Pollution and Child Cognition

Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations

Sept 27, 2010 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Shakira Franco Suglia, Sc.D., Assistant Professor, Dept of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine; and Dept of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health

It is well documented that urban air pollution is associated with a number of respiratory and cardiovascular adverse health effects. However, the effect of air pollution on brain development remained largely unexplored until recently. Professor Franco Suglia discusses studies in Boston and elsewhere documenting the impact of traffic-related air pollutants on children’s cognition.

Science News article quoting Dr. Franco Suglia, May 22, 2010 Destination Brain: Young children’s minds may be especially sensitive to tiny airborne particles spewed by traffic, according to Shakira Franco Suglia of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and her colleagues. In studies of roughly 200 Boston 10-year-olds, the researchers found that those living in areas with the highest average airborne concentrations of soot, a pollutant primarily associated with traffic, had lower IQs and lower scores on memory tests.

Suglia et al article in Amer Journal Epidemiology