Testing Air Pollution's Effect on Children's Health

By: Cathleen Moxley Email
By: Cathleen Moxley Email

A recent report by USA Today found that schools in Washington County, Ohio ranked in the top four percentile of schools with the most polluted air in the nation.

Now, researchers want to make sure the air isn't affecting children's health, and if it is they want something done about it.

Marietta College has partnered with the University of Cincinnati to see if air pollution does in fact affect youth development.

But before they get started on their research, they first have to recruit 200 children in the area.

"It's important to know exactly the conditions in which we are bringing up our children. Environmentally I'm concerned," Gi Smith, a local parent, said.

Smith is the mother of two girls, ages seven and eight. And like most parents, she wants to make sure her children are healthy. So, she and her daughters are participating in a study to see if the area they live in has any effect on their well being.

"I'm interested in the quality of air that children breathe, and then how it affects their health," Dr. Erin Haynes with the University of Cincinnati said.

So Dr. Haynes is testing two things. First, the air in the community, and second, the children who breathe it.

"As a parent I was interested in how my child performed cognitively," Smith said.

And so the research will include a look at children's mental and physical abilities.

"Word games, blocks, we have some balance activities," Jody Alden, a researcher with Marietta College, said.

Children ages seven to nine are eligible for the study as long as their mothers lived in the area during their pregnancies, and researchers say participants won't leave empty handed.

"We do offer $100 for the child and $25 for the parent," Alden said.

Leaving families with a little extra cash and a free health examination.

If the results show that the air is affecting children's health, then researchers are hoping they can get some environmental policies changed and some new ones in place.

Any parents in Washington County interested can contact Dr. Haynes at 740-516-3200.

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  • by Crystal on Jan 14, 2009 at 07:37 AM
    As a mother, I would not hesitate to participate and/or support this testing. On another hand economics are beyond right to say that there is a price to pay for everything. You have to take from one area to give to another. We are greedy people who want it all. The money has to come from somewhere. Which area to be choose to take from?
  • by John Location: Marietta on Jan 13, 2009 at 08:11 PM
    Oh good grief people. You want to blame air for any little thing that's wrong with your child? You're looking for someone to blame, and they come up with this, so you jump on it. Yes, I have a child, and yes, she has a chronic disease. But guess what, she doesn't attend school here, or in any of the areas on the list. So what do I get to blame her condition on? The weather? This is nothing more than environmentalists going after the big money and trying to "save the planet". Quit letting your emotions cloud your judgement.
  • by Concerned Mother on Jan 13, 2009 at 01:22 PM
    I have singed my child up to be tested ! My child has a learning problem along with my two other children!! I think this is a good thing for our children.And this has NOTHING to do with the plants closing!! Charlene from Cincinnati! DO YOU HAVE KIDS???
  • by Charlene Location: Cincinnati on Jan 13, 2009 at 06:56 AM
    I thought the plant closings were the result of our tanking economy and the tanking economy was the result of greedy, shortsighted decisions being made by the Masters of the Universe who run our banks and corporations. So, it's really parents and environmentalists, huh? (Wow)
  • by Lauren's Mom Location: ex Vienna resident on Jan 13, 2009 at 05:31 AM
    John from Marietta, if you had yourself a child in one of these schools, and actaully cared about the health and welfare of that child, then you wouldn't rant on here about the money it takes to keep our children safe. My daughter who is ADHD, ODD, and missing half of her arm, was born in Marietta, and raised in Vienna. Neale school was listed in the top 2% of schools with high levels of manganese in the air. We lived within 5 blocks of that school. It has been proven that intake of manganese causes such items as.... guess what? ADHD! ODD! and many many other items. Yes, it takes a lot of money to implement safety items in these plants, and I understand your concerns, you must try to understand the concerns of the parents too. If we kill off our children, or do nothing but produce children with all the defects that can be caused by the lack of safety guidelines, then there will be no one to work these jobs that you are so concerned about losing by having to clean up these plants!
  • by John Location: Marietta on Jan 12, 2009 at 10:01 PM
    What a bunch of of BS. This is nothing more than the environmental wackos trying another angle at getting what they want. SAVE THE CHILDREN! We won't have any jobs left in the valley, but hey, at least the children are safe! I don't want to hear anyone whine, when the next plant closes due to them not being able to afford these "environmental policies" that will be put in place. Read the whole USA Today article, there are so many unknowns in the computer model. Every feakin thing on this earth seems to cause cancer today, even mouthwash. Air quality has greatly improved over the years, we adults from the valley today should have already had cancer, right? I thought the 1990 Clean Air Act was supposed to be the magic bullet? Or was it the ethanol burning buses? No wait, it was getting rid of asbestos in the schools. Could be that obesity causes 20% of cancer, no, we got rid of sodas in school. So many options, let's just pick one that nets us the most money and makes us feel good!
  • by Bob Location: Belpre on Jan 12, 2009 at 07:36 PM
    That may be true- but just as the C-8 scientists will tell you- there is a BIG difference between correlation and causation. You might find that 90% of the people who write comments here also drink coffee which would be a correlation. But it would be wrong to believe coffee causes people to leave comments here.
  • by BETH Location: MARIETTA on Jan 12, 2009 at 05:42 PM
    POINT TO PONDER -- AUTISTIC KIDS HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO HAVE A HIGH LEVEL OF METALS IN THEIR BODIES -- OHIO HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST #'S OF KIDS W/AUTISM --"Washington County, Ohio ranked in the top four percentile of schools with the most polluted air in the nation." HMMM!
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