Another study supporting UPHE’s mission

Photo by E P Kosmicki

Since our conception, UPHE has passionately supported and advocated for reducing air pollution. We’ve sounded the alarms on industrial operations that pose threats to residents’ health and well being, advocated for clean energy initiatives to help combat climate change, and helped educate residents on measures to take during poor air quality events. 

New research published this week is the perfect example of why UPHE is an avid supporter of clean air. In the largest study of its kind, researchers find even supposedly “safe” levels of ozone, PM2.5, and nitrogen oxides harm the brain development of children, altering the connectivity between various areas of the brain.  

The research followed the brain development of children ages 9 -10 for two years, using brain scans to assess effect. The results of the study on Science Direct write, “Taken together, PM2.5, O3, and NO2 exposure in childhood relate to distinct changes in patterns of network maturation over time. This is the first study to show outdoor ambient air pollution during childhood is linked to longitudinal changes in brain network connectivity development.” 

We have said for years, there is no safe level of air pollution. Eliminating it completely is virtually impossible, but the effects at even low levels should be motivation enough to keep them as low as possible. Because the majority of the state of Utah lives in a valley with persistent inversions, we need to be extra conscious and careful about the pollution levels we allow. 

Any alteration of normal development means permanent brain damage. It’s because of this kind of scientific information that we fight the battles we do. Current issues such as levels of Great Salt Lake, the Parley’s Canyon gravel pit, the Inland Port, the burning and thinning of our forests, the oil emphasis of the Uinta Basin Railway, must be evaluated from an air pollution and human health perspective.

Find more on the recent study here.