In a new study, Beckwith and colleagues naturally took into consideration known factors that could influence brain development (e.g., maternal IQ, neighborhood poverty level). They found that children exposed to the highest pollution levels had thinner cortexes compared to those with little pollution exposure. This corroborates earlier findings that showed exposure to high levels of traffic-related pollution tend to perform poorly on standardized tests. Darby Jack, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, reportedly said that Beckwith’s research tended to reinforce earlier study findings. It was noted that although children living in areas with high pollution tend to be poorer than those who get to breathe clean air, brain imaging showed that only specific brain areas appear to be affected, suggesting that this is due to pollution and not simply poverty. More tomorrow.