Exposure to air pollution of expectant mothers could impact the behavioral health of their baby, new research suggests.
Pregnant women who are exposed to air pollution may have an increased chance of their unborn child being diagnosed with ADHD, according to a study published in PLOS ONE.
The study involved 233 pregnant mothers in New York City, who had all breathed in some PAHs during their daily lives. PAHs include toxic pollutants that are released through the burning of coal, oil, gas or tobacco, and can also be formed by cooking meat over high temperatures.
It was found that the children whose mothers had exposure to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) during their pregnancy were five times more likely to have symptoms linked with ADHD.
The results suggest that childhood ADHD could be linked to exposure to PAH in polluted air which can also have negative health impact later in life including heart and kidney problems.
ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a mental health condition exhibited by difficulty maintaining attention, as well as hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Symptoms can lead to a number of problems, including unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, and low self-esteem.