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Previous studies have shown consistently increased likelihood of dementia or mild cognitive impairment diagnoses in people with higher air pollution exposure history, but evidence has been less consistent for associations with cognitive test performance. We estimated the association between baseline neighbourhood-level exposure to airborne pollutants (particulate matter and nitrogen oxides) and (1) cognitive test performance at baseline and (2) cognitive score change between baseline and follow-up, in the UK Biobank cohort. 86,759 adults were assessed at baseline in 2010, and 2,913 were followed up after around 3 years. Initial analyses indicated small but consistent associations between higher air pollutant exposure and lower cognitive performance. However, after taking account of a range of key confounders, associations were inconsistent in direction and of very small magnitude. Analyses of cognitive change scores did not show evidence of associations with pollution levels. The findings indicate that in this sample, which is five-fold larger than any previous cross-sectional study in this field, the association between air pollution exposure and cognitive performance was weak. Ongoing follow-up of the UK Biobank cohort will allow investigation of longer-term associations into old age, including longitudinal tracking of cognitive performance and new dementia diagnoses.