New Study Reveals That Even “Safe” Levels of Pollution Are Harming Our Brains

By Ayaan Soorma, age 9

Levels of certain air pollutants considered safe by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards are still causing negative impacts on children’s brains between ages 9 to 13. 

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, published in Environment International in June, examined 9,497 children in 21 different areas across the United States. In some regions, children were found to have more brain connections than usual, but in other areas, they had fewer. The researchers found that the damage caused by air pollution can impair cognitive functions and create emotional problems later in life, according to senior author Megan Herting.

The EPA has set limits on the emission of various airborne contaminants like nitrogen dioxide and ozone pollution because they are known to cause many diseases. However, this study found that even levels considered safe by the EPA are causing damage to brain development. The researchers explained that the findings could push the EPA and policymakers to reassess clean air standards to keep children safe. 

Note from the reporter: This author wants to say thank you to the researchers who uncovered this important information, and if President Biden reads this: We hope you consider advocating and putting changes into law to help lower air pollution in our cities.

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