New study finds exposure to air pollution leads to cognitive gaps in children

Switching to all-electric school buses could have benefits inside the classroom.

Kids' health

Erik Voss | TPIN

We’ve known for years that exposure to diesel exhaust can have a variety of negative effects on human health, however as a society we are still finding new ways in which air pollution can impact our lives. According to a new study, air pollution can not only have negative impacts on our respiratory health, it can also stunt the cognitive development of children. The study examined the effects that exposure to air pollution had on children in regards to their neurological development. From the results it was determined that over exposure to particulate matter and other neurotoxic air pollutants can lead to children developing cognitive gaps that impact their ability to process and learn new information. 

The publication of this study is yet another reason to support the movement to reduce children’s exposure to air pollutants. Children are often disproportionately exposed to air pollution due to the fact that they are in close proximity to diesel powered school buses on a regular basis. Aside from the cognitive disruption highlighted in this study, exposure to diesel pollution can also have a variety of adverse effects on the respiratory system.  As a result of the various negative health impacts, it is imperative that our schools continue to transition away from diesel powered buses in favor of electric alternatives. These electric buses will not only limit children’s exposure to harmful air pollution, but will also reduce school systems’ greenhouse gas emissions. To learn more about the benefits of transitioning to electric school buses visit The Power of Zero.

Ryan Giunta

Former Transform Transportation, Associate, PIRG

Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG


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