New research supports ongoing program for free air purifiers in schools

Two recent studies add even more evidence to the importance of children breathing clean air at the earliest stages of life.

One study out of Simon Fraser University, which has been going on since 2014, found that placing portable air purifiers in the homes of pregnant mothers improved the IQs (especially the verbal IQs) of children after birth. These findings align with similar studies that have been done to show air pollution’s effect on a child’s ability to learn. One out of Brown University foundsubstantial improvements in student achievement” when air purifiers were placed in classrooms. 

In another study, this one out of University of East Anglia, poor air quality was associated with impaired visually-based cognition in children tested as toddlers. “Without action, the negative impact on children’s long-term brain development could have consequences for life,” the researchers warn. 

We know that families in lower income neighborhoods are generally exposed to more air pollution than families in higher income neighborhoods. This means that cognitive effects of air pollution will be more prevalent in schools in lower income areas. The most important and beneficial action to combat this would be to reduce pollution and emission levels in these neighborhoods. Since emissions on a broader scale are somewhat out of our hands, portable air purifiers can be extremely beneficial.

The good news is that the Utah Department of Health and Human Services has a program that can help. For a limited time, air purifiers are available through a federal grant to K-12 schools and daycares/early education centers.

If you have school-age children, or someone in your family does, please ask them if their school has utilized this program. We don’t want any location to miss this incredible opportunity to improve the education, brain development, and career potential of our youth.

See more on the Utah Department of Health and Human Services program here.