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  • Gaylia Tanner


Gaylia Tanner

Winter inversions in the Salt Lake Valley are doing more than harming kids’ lungs. Recent researchers from the University of Utah found spikes in air pollution may also impact their performance at school.

Heaps of scientific studies have connected chronic exposure to fine particulate matter to poor cognition, including in children. A team of University Utah scientists looked to the Wasatch Front’s unique pollution problem. Periods of stagnant air that cause muck to build up. peak, then dissipate when a storm moves in.

The study looked at third graders, standardized English and math test scores in Salt Lake County from 2016-2017 school year. The scientists compared under performing scores with the worst inversion days, when fine particulate, or PM 2.5, was in the 95th percentile for the year. The results showed that lower scores were linked with the bad pollution days for all 156 of the county’s primary schools.


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