Kids who are exposed to the highest levels of air pollution before birth have a greater risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms than their less exposed peers, according to new research.
In the study, researchers looked at levels of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are a component of air pollution.
"Those children born to moms who were exposed to high levels of PAH during pregnancy had five times the odds of having an increased number of symptoms" of ADHD, said Frederica Perera, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City and the first author of the new study. "Those symptoms were specifically of the inattentive type," she said (as opposed to being the symptoms of hyperactivity). [7 Ways Pregnant Women Affect Babies]