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Theme 4: Project 2 - Neurocognitive and behavioural impacts of traffic derived pollutants in children

Introduction: An emerging literature demonstrates impaired neuropsychological development (executive function, motor skills, language development and intelligence quotient) in children exposed to elevated air pollutant concentrations and indicators of high traffic exposure, such as proximity to busy roads, or the proportion of diesel traffic.

Aims: To test the hypothesis that exposure to traffic derived pollutants, especially those from diesel vehicles, are associated with impaired neurocognitive and behavioural development, employing secondary-school aged children living within the Greater London area.  This proposal will make use of a new cohort to be established in Project 3, Theme 3 examining the impact of exposure to radio-frequency (RF) fields from the mobile phones.

We propose to augment this assessment by examining the association between neurocognitive and behavioural functioning, assessed by web-based standardized neuropsychological tests and validated questionnaire scales, with long term (annual and  3-year cumulative) exposures to a panel of pollutants (NO2, NOx, PM10 and PM2.5), modelled at the residential address level.

In addition, we will examine the association with these behavioural endpoints with traffic indicators, including distance to the nearest busy road, traffic density and composition within pre-set buffer zones. We will also consider adding noise exposure estimates through collaboration with colleagues at Imperial.

Lead researchers

Dr Ian Mudway


King's College London

Dr Mireille Toledano

Theme 3 Deputy Leader

Imperial College London