Childhood exposure to outdoor air pollution in different microenvironments and cognitive and fine motor function in children from six European cohorts

Alan Domínguez, Sarah Koch, Sandra Marquez, Montserrat de Castro, Jose Urquiza, Jorun Evandt, Bente Oftedal, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Mariza Kampouri, Marina Vafeiadi, Mark Mon-Williams, Dan Lewer, Johanna Lepeule, Sandra Andrusaityte, Martine Vrijheid, Mònica Guxens, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background:

Exposure to air pollution during childhood has been linked with adverse effects on cognitive development and motor function. However, limited research has been done on the associations of air pollution exposure in different microenvironments such as home, school, or while commuting with these outcomes. 

Objective: 

To analyze the association between childhood air pollution exposure in different microenvironments and cognitive and fine motor function from six European birth cohorts. 

Methods: 

We included 1301 children from six European birth cohorts aged 6–11 years from the HELIX project. Average outdoor air pollutants concentrations (NO2, PM2.5) were estimated using land use regression models for different microenvironments (home, school, and commute), for 1-year before the outcome assessment. Attentional function, cognitive flexibility, non-verbal intelligence, and fine motor function were assessed using the Attention Network Test, Trail Making Test A and B, Raven Colored Progressive Matrices test, and the Finger Tapping test, respectively. Adjusted linear regressions models were run to determine the association between each air pollutant from each microenvironment on each outcome.

Results: 

In pooled analysis we observed high correlation (rs = 0.9) between air pollution exposures levels at home and school. However, the cohort-by-cohort analysis revealed correlations ranging from low to moderate. Air pollution exposure levels while commuting were higher than at home or school. Exposure to air pollution in the different microenvironments was not associated with working memory, attentional function, non-verbal intelligence, and fine motor function. Results remained consistently null in random-effects meta-analysis. 

Conclusions: 

No association was observed between outdoor air pollution exposure in different microenvironments (home, school, commute) and cognitive and fine motor function in children from six European birth cohorts. Future research should include a more detailed exposure assessment, considering personal measurements and time spent in different microenvironments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118174
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume247
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Inc.

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