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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1295; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111295

The Combined Influence of Air Pollution and Home Learning Environment on Early Cognitive Skills in Children

1
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2
Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA
Work completed while at Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 22 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [305 KB, uploaded 26 October 2017]

Abstract

Cognitive skills are one component of school readiness that reflect a child’s neurodevelopment and are influenced by environmental and social factors. Most studies assess the impact of these factors individually, without taking into consideration the complex interactions of multiple factors. The objective of this study was to examine the joint association of markers of environmental pollution and of social factors on early cognitive skills in an urban cohort of children. For this, we chose isophorone in ambient air as a marker of industrial air pollution. Low quality home learning environments was chosen as a marker of the social factors contributing to cognitive development. Using a subpopulation from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (N = 4050), isophorone exposure was assigned using the 2002 National Air Toxics Assessment. Home learning environment was assessed with a modified version of the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) Inventory, and standardized math assessment scores were used as a measure of early cognitive skills. Multiple linear regression was used to estimate the effect of both exposures on math scores. After adjustment for confounders, children living in areas with ambient isophorone in the upper quintile of exposure (>0.49 ng/m3) had math scores that were 1.63 points lower than their less exposed peers [95% CI: −2.91, −0.34], and children with lower HOME scores (at or below 9 out of 12) had math scores that were 1.20 points lower than children with better HOME scores [95% CI: −2.30, −0.10]. In adjusted models accounting for identified confounders and both exposures of interest, both high isophorone exposure and low HOME score remained independently associated with math scores [−1.48, 95% CI: −2.79, −0.18; −1.05, 95% CI: −2.15, 0.05, respectively]. There was no statistical evidence of interaction between the two exposures, although children with both higher isophorone exposure and a low HOME score had a decrement in math scale score beyond the additive effect of each exposure. This was primarily observed among male children. These findings suggest that aspects of both the physical and social environments are independently associated with children’s early cognitive skills. Future research aiming to improve children’s early cognitive skills and subsequent school readiness should address both domains. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; school readiness; isophorone; ECLS-B; child development; neurodevelopment air pollution; school readiness; isophorone; ECLS-B; child development; neurodevelopment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lett, L.A.; Stingone, J.A.; Claudio, L. The Combined Influence of Air Pollution and Home Learning Environment on Early Cognitive Skills in Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1295.

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