A recent study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that exposure to air pollution while mom is pregnant can adversely affect the unborn child’s IQ. The pollution particles that appear to be to blame are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  PAHs are found in high levels in urban areas because they are released into the air from the burning of coal, diesel, oil and gas, or other organic substances such as tobacco.

“The decrease in full-scale IQ score among the more exposed children is similar to that seen with low-level lead exposure,” said lead author Frederica P. Perera, Dr.P.H., professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health.

PAH’s can be controlled with the used of eco-friendly sources of energy and policy that supports limited these emissions.   Unfortunately that doesn’t help the unborn children of today.

Once we step out of our home we have limited control over the exposure we have to airborne chemicals like PAHs, but we do have control in our home environment.  One of the best ways to create a healthy home environment is to add natures air purifiers, plants.  NASA did a 2 year study to determine the air purifying benefits of house plants. NASA research on indoor plants has found that living plants are so efficient at absorbing contaminants in the air that some will be launched into space as part of the biological life support system aboard future orbiting space stations.  For a list of  the most pollution fighting plants click here.

Click here for the original NIH study.