Proximity to Traffic and Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Relation to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder in U.S. Children

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International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health



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© 2020 Elsevier GmbH Background: Traffic related air pollution (TRAP) and its component polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may be neurotoxic in children. There is limited research on postnatal exposure to TRAP and PAHs and child neurodevelopment. Methods: We linked data from the U.S. NHANES 2001–2004 with the National Highway Planning Network 2005 to examine the proximity to major roads (highway or urban/rural principal arterials), urinary PAH metabolites, and diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) based on Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (C-DISC) in 1253 children aged 8–15 years. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% Confidence Intervals (CIs) for ADHD and CD by traffic proximity and PAH exposures using logistic regression adjusted for confounders. Results: Higher ADHD prevalence was observed among children living <500 m (9.86%) compared to those ≥500 m (3.84%) from a major road. Prevalence of children with CD was comparable (<500 m: 2.51% and ≥500 m: 2.43%). We found little difference in urinary PAH metabolite levels between children living near major roads and those who did not. Children living <500 m from a major road had a non-significant OR of 2.06 (95% CI 0.85–5.03) for ADHD diagnosis. Children living on ≥2 major roads within 500 m of a highway had a non-significant OR of 2.27 (95% CI 0.71–7.26) for ADHD diagnosis. There was no association between proximity to major roads and CD diagnosis. Conclusion: We found living close to a major road was not associated with increased PAH levels. We did not find statistically significant relation between proximity to a major road or urinary PAH metabolite levels and ADHD or CD diagnosis in this cross-sectional analysis. Prospective studies are needed for the investigation of postnatal TRAP exposure and ADHD and CD diagnosis.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Conduct disorder; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Traffic related air pollution


Environmental Health



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