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Dirty Air Linked to Lower Grades

Update Date: Aug 28, 2015 07:47 PM EDT
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New environmental research links dirty air to lower grades.

Researchers form the University of Texas at El Paso found that fourth and fifth graders exposed to toxic air pollutants were significantly more likely to have lower GPAs. Examples of toxic air pollutants include motor vehicle emissions from cars, trucks and buses on roads.

"There are two pathways that can help us to explain this association," co-author Sara E. Grineski, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at UTEP, said in a news release. "Some evidence suggests 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. The other hypothesis is that chronic exposure to air toxics can negatively affect children's neurological and brain development."

 "What makes our study different is that we are actually studying kids in their home setting, but there's a body of literature where they have studied levels of air pollution at schools in California and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, instead of at children's homes. A study on the Los Angeles Unified School District showed that schools with higher levels of pollution have lower standardized test scores," she added.

The findings are published in the journal Population and Environment.

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