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Can Prenatal Pollution be the Cause for Behavior Problems in Children?

 

A recent study has confirmed what’s been speculated for a while – prenatal pollution can have a lasting effect on the behavior of children!

It’s a common knowledge that pollution can have a bad impact on human health. Cigarettes, cars, factories can all make problems with our general health, but a recent study has shown that some problems can even be transferred to the babies in the womb.

A group of researchers led by Amy Margolis from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health did a study to see whether is there a connection between polluted air that the carrying mothers breathe and their children’s behavior later in life. The results of the research were published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and quickly became viral.

The reason why this study got in the headlines is that it proved that the children whose mothers were exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a primary air pollutant, had certain issues regarding their behavior. Previous studies on this subject have concluded that these children, aged between 3 and 11, showed signs of depression, anxiety, as well as attention disorder.

The reasons why the researches even decided to do this study was to see if they could find the connection between the exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and behavioral problems. In order to measure the emotional self regulation of the children, the researchers used a standard test, which deals with the intensity of emotions, impulsiveness, and aggression.

The testing was done on 462 children, whose mothers were tested on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) during the pregnancy. The results confirmed what the researchers suspected – children whose mothers were exposed to the pollutant had the emotional issues. They were less likely to regulate their emotions than the children who weren’t exposed to the PAH while in the womb.

90% of People in the World Breathe Bad Air – Claims World Health Organization

The problem in behavior of these children manifests in their ability to control emotions. When it comes to the normal development, the children are able to sustain their impulsive reactions such as instant gratification. During the childhood this doesn’t seem as a much of big problem, but the truth is that it can lead to serious issues in the adolescence. Children with emotional issues are prone to risk behavior during their teens, like violence and drug abuse.

According to Frederica Perera from Columbia, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exposure is the culprit here. She claims that the PAH might be responsible for reducing the amount of white matter in the brain.

Still, the things are not so bad, having in mind that solving the PAH pollution is not that hard. In fact, this can be done pretty easily and some local governments have already started dealing with it. For example, New York City government has already made policies that deal with the issue and it seems they’re already making an effect. This study is still going on and recent results are showing that in some parts of NYC, the level of pollution is dropping. Still, even without the policies, the PAH pollution is avoidable.

According to the researchers, people can help solving this problem by changing their habits. For example, they can start by quitting smoking or, at least, not smoking in their homes. On top of that, removing wood-burning fireplaces and properly ventilating the homes can also help solving this issue.

http://time.com/4263089/prenatal-pollution-behavior-problems/

 

 

 

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