Original Paper

Population and Environment

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 319-340

First online:

Residential exposure to air toxics is linked to lower grade point averages among school children in El Paso, Texas, USA

  • Stephanie E. Clark-ReynaAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at El Paso
  • , Sara E. GrineskiAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at El Paso Email author 
  • , Timothy W. CollinsAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at El Paso

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Abstract

Children in low-income neighborhoods tend to be disproportionately exposed to environmental toxicants. This is cause for concern because exposure to environmental toxicants negatively affects health, which can impair academic success. To date, it is unknown if associations between air toxics and academic performance found in previous school-level studies persist when studying individual children. In pairing the National Air Toxics Assessment risk estimates for respiratory and diesel particulate matter risk disaggregated by source, with individual-level data collected through a mail survey, this paper examines the effects of exposure to residential environmental toxics on academic performance for individual children for the first time and adjusts for school-level effects using generalized estimating equations. We find that higher levels of residential air toxics, especially those from non-road mobile sources, are statistically significantly associated with lower grade point averages among fourth- and fifth-grade school children in El Paso (Texas, USA).

Keywords

Environmental justice Children Academic performance National Air Toxics Assessment El Paso, Texas, USA