A new study has found a link between kids' exposure to traffic and their future risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral disorders.
The study, which was conducted at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center used data on traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) collected as part of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a long-term epidemiological study examining the effects of traffic particulates on childhood respiratory health and allergy development.
Researchers looked at the medical data of children born in the city between 2001 and 2003 who were chosen based on family history and whether they lived near to or far from a major highway or bus route. They followed the kids from birth to age 7.
Researchers found that by the age of 7, children exposed to more traffic were more likely to test positive for ADHD and other related conditions such as including lack of attentiveness, aggression and behavioral problems.
Results showed that children who were exposed to the highest third amount of TRAP during the first year of life were more likely to have hyperactivity scores in the ‘at risk’ range when they were 7 years old.
Data shows that about 11 percent of the U.S. population lives within 100 meters of a four-lane highway and that 40 percent of children attend school within 400 meters of a major highway.
A previous study published earlier this month found that traffic noise may be linked to the development of ADHD. But researchers for this study think that particulate pollution exposure might also be an issue.
Dr. Nicholas Newman, a lead researcher from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center said, "traffic-related air pollution is one of many factors associated with changes in neurodevelopment, but it is one that is potentially preventable."