A recent study conducted at UTEP has found a link between fourth and fifth graders who are exposed to toxic air pollutants at home and lower GPAs.

UTEP researchers analyzed academic performance and sociodemographic data for 1,895 fourth and fifth grade children living in El Paso which attend the El Paso Independent School District.

Researchers estimated children’s exposure to toxic air pollutants, such as diesel exhaust, around the location of their homes based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Air Toxics Assessment.

The results show that children who were exposed to high levels of motor vehicle emissions from cars, trucks and buses on roads and highways were found to have significantly lower GPAs, even when accounting for other factors known to influence school performance.

According to researchers, this is the ninth study to come into view from a 2012 children's respiratory health survey developed at UTEP that was mailed to the homes of fourth and fifth graders enrolled in all 58 EPISD elementary schools. Researchers selected schools in EPISD because it is the largest district in Texas’ Region 19.

The American Lung Association ranked El Paso eighth out of 277 metropolitan areas in the United States for annual particulate pollution in 2014.

One important note that was reported in the study stated that on-road mobile sources like the trucking industry are the largest contributors of overall air pollution in the city.

In 2014, nearly 400,000 trucks crossed from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso through the Ysleta-Zaragoza Port of Entry, and another 360,000 trucks crossed in the U.S. through El Paso’s Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry.

The results of the study were published in the academic journal Population and Environment.

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