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ADHD linked to traffic pollution


New research from the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center finds kids who live near or attend school near a major highway or interstate have an increased risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) because of the traffic- related pollution.

Lots of kids could be at risk

Studies have shown 40% of children attend school within 400 meters of a major highway. Another 11% of the population in the U.S. lives within a 100 meters of a four-lane highway.

The developing brain is the concern

Nicholas Newman, DO, director of the Pediatric Environmental Health and Lead Clinic at Cincinnati Children's says the increasing concern is about "the potential effects of traffic-related air pollution on the developing brain."

He followed nearly 600 kids from infancy to age 7, mostly within the I-275 belt. Children who were exposed to the highest third amount of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) during their first year of life were more likely to be in the "at risk" range for hyperactivity when they were 7 years old.

This is  part of a long-term epidemiological study on the effects of traffic particulates on childhood respiratory health and allergy development.

Dr. Newman says traffic pollution is only one of many factors that could cause ADHD. He says he will do further testing on those enrolled in the study.

The most recent research is published in the May 21st edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed open journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.