Traffic pollution could be causing teenage delinquency, study suggests

Staff writer
A view of smog lying over London from The View from The Shard, in south London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 10, 2015. See PA story WEATHER Hottest. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
A view of smog lying over London from The View from The Shard, in south London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 10, 2015. See PA story WEATHER Hottest. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

There's not much doubt that high levels of particulates from vehicle exhausts in the air can contribute to poor health, including lung conditions. But scientists in the US have uncovered a possible link between vehicle particulates and antisocial behaviours – including practices as severe as theft, arson, vandalism and drug abuse.

The study, conducted over nine years, tracked 682 children in the Greater Los Angeles area. Air quality monitors tracked the levels of toxic "PM2.5" particles outside each participants home, while the children's parents completed a "rule-breaking" checklist – encompassing delinquent behaviours such as lying and cheating, truancy, theft and substance abuse.