Further research is needed on the link between children’s mental health and pollution, says Robin Russell-Jones, expanding electric vehicle infrastructure will help London, says Andy Boland, and incinerators should also be targeted in the capital, says Michael Ryan

The link between cognitive performance and air pollution is very worrying but not surprising (High pollution levels ‘causing huge reduction in intelligence’, 28 August). The report by the Royal College of Physicians in 2016 drew a link between air pollution and dementia in the elderly and reduced cognitive performance in children. This recent study from China indicates that teenagers and adults are also affected.

We don’t know how these effects are mediated, but with neurotoxins such as lead the most critical period of exposure is likely to be during pregnancy. A study undertaken in New York of non-smoking mothers showed strong associations with foetal exposure to particulates and subsequent mental health problems in those children at primary school age. These problems included anxiety, depression and ADHD. This has momentous implications for public health. We are suffering an epidemic of mental health problems among...


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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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