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Closing coal-burning power plant in China and improved cognitive development in children
Date:7/14/2008

July 14, 2008 Closing coal-fired power plants can have a direct, positive impact on children's cognitive development and health according to a study released by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The study allowed researchers to track and compare the development of two groups of children born in Tongliang, a city in China's Chongqing Municipality one in utero while a coal-fired power plant was operating in the city and one in utero after the Chinese government had closed the plant. Among the first group of children, prenatal exposure to coal-burning emissions was associated with significantly lower average developmental scores and reduced motor development at age two. In the second unexposed group, these adverse effects were no longer observed; and the frequency of delayed motor developmental was significantly reduced. The study findings are published in the July 14th Environmental Health Perspectives.

"This study provides direct evidence that governmental action to eliminate polluting coal-burning sources benefits children's neurodevelopment," said Frederica Perera, DrPH, professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, and lead author of the study. "These findings have major implications for environmental health and energy policy as they demonstrate that reduction in dependence on coal for energy can have a measurable positive impact on children's development and health in China and elsewhere."

To conduct the study, researchers from CCCEH partnered with physicians and scientists from the Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, the School of Public Health at Fudan University in Shanghai, and the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The researchers followed two successive cohorts of C
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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