Air Pollution and Mental Performance (12-01-20)

Research completed by a Mullen-lead team not only confirms the value of air outside being fresh, but also the advantages of air brought into buildings being “scrubbed.”  The investigators report that  “Fine particulate air pollution is harmful to children in myriad ways. While evidence is mounting that chronic exposures are associated with reduced academic proficiency, no research has examined the frequency of peak exposures. . . . [the researchers examined] the percentage of third grade students who tested below the grade level in math and English language arts (ELA) in Salt Lake County, Utah primary schools . . . where fine particulate pollution is a serious health threat. More frequent peak exposures were associated with reduced math and ELA proficiency, as was greater school disadvantage. High frequency peak exposures were more strongly linked to lower math proficiency in more advantaged schools. Findings highlight the need for policies to reduce the number of days with peak air pollution.”

Casey Mullen, Sara Grineski, Timothy Collins, and Daniel Mendoza. 2020.   “Effects of PM2.5 on Third Grade Students’ Proficiency in Math and English Language Arts.”  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 18, 6931,