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Many studies have correlated low greenspace and high air pollution with a child’s risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, studies conducted at the population level are limited. This study, published in ​​Environment International, investigated the association among ADHD incidence and air pollution, noise, and greenspace in a population-based birth cohort. 

The cohort was assembled from administrative data of approximately 37,000 individuals born between 2000 and 2001 in Vancouver, Canada. Individuals with ADHD were identified from this group via prescriptions, doctor visits, and hospital records.

Regarding the measures of pollution and greenspace experienced by these individuals with ADHD, the air pollution exposure period was defined as birth through age three, noise was estimated using a deterministic model, and fine particulate matter and levels of nitrogen dioxide were estimated using land use regression models. Finally, greenspace was estimated using vegetation percentage utilizing information from satellite imagery. 

Ultimately, greenspace was found to be associated with a lower incidence of ADHD, while fine particulate matter was associated with an increased incidence of ADHD. Noise levels and exposure to nitrogen dioxide were not found to be associated with ADHD. 

In short, this study adds to the mounting body of evidence that suggests environmental inequalities in access to greenspace and clean air influence ADHD risk among children [1].


[1] Yuchi, W., Brauer, M., Czekajlo, A., Davies, H. W., Davis, Z., Guhn, M., Jarvis, I., Jerrett, M., Nesbitt, L., Oberlander, T. F., Sbihi, H., Su, J., & van den Bosch, M. (2022). Neighborhood environmental exposures and incidence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A population-based cohort study. Environment International, 161, 107120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2022.107120

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