- Study finds indoor pollution worse than outdoor pollution for newborn health
- The impact of air pollution was greatest in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa
- Developed nations also affected, 12,000 premature births in the US
A study has claimed that air pollution has contributed to nearly 6 million premature births and around 3 million low birth weight babies worldwide in 2019.
And it wasn’t just pollution from traffic or power plants, which are generally considered to be the biggest sources of toxic air.
Indoor cooking stoves contributed to about two-thirds of cases, according to research from the University of California at San Francisco.
Researchers analyzed how outdoor and indoor air pollution affected pregnancy outcomes around the world.
They found that if air pollution is reduced in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the global number of premature births and low birth weight babies could be cut by 78 percent.
The authors said that indoor pollution from burning coal, dung and wood inside homes is common in these areas, as well as the highest rates of premature births in the world.
But air pollution, and its subsequent effects on pregnancies, is not only a problem in developing countries.
The study also found that outdoor air pollution contributed to an estimated 12,000 preterm births in the US in 2019. An estimate was not given for the UK.
An increasing number of studies have pointed to pollution as a factor for premature birth and miscarriage. Previous research has suggested that this is partly the result of women suffering from inflammation and ‘internal stress’ from pollutants.
New research has shown that a combination of outdoor and indoor air pollution was responsible for nearly 6 million premature births and nearly 3 million low birth weight babies worldwide in 2019. The study’s authors say the findings should inspire nations to tackle the problem. save the lives of newborns
The researchers do not provide details of how many of the 6 million babies born prematurely as a result of air pollution in 2019 survived.
However, they do note that premature birth is the leading cause of neonatal mortality worldwide.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1 million babies die each year due to complications from premature birth.
All babies born prematurely, as well as those with low birth weight, have an increased risk of developing major disease throughout their lives.
These can range from respiratory diseases, bleeding to the brain and heart and digestive system problems, and long-term intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The study’s lead author, Professor Rakesh Ghosh, said the global health impact of air pollution is enormous.
“There is a huge burden due to air pollution, yet it can be reduced to a great extent with adequate efforts,” he said.
Professor Ghosh said the findings should be a wake-up call for nations to tackle air pollution for the next generation.
“With this new, global and more stringent evidence, air pollution should now be considered a major driver of infant morbidity and mortality, not just chronic adult diseases,” he said.
‘Our study suggests that mitigating climate change and taking measures to reduce air pollution levels will have significant health co-benefits for newborns.’
The findings were published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Bliss, a premature birth charity, estimates that 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the UK, accounting for one in every thirteen births.
In the US, there are about 380,000 premature births a year, accounting for one in ten births, according to the March of Dimes, a pregnancy health campaign group.
This latest study is the latest in a series of research linking air pollution and problems in pregnancy.
Women exposed to air pollution before becoming pregnant are about 20 percent more likely to have a baby with birth defects, according to research conducted in January 2018.
A study from the University of Cincinnati found that women who lived within 3.1 miles (5 km) of a highly polluted area for a month prior to conception were more likely to give birth to babies with defects such as cleft palate or lip.
Research states that for every 0.01mg/m3 increase in fine particulate matter, there is a 19 percent increase in birth defects.
Previous research suggests that it causes birth defects as a result of women suffering from inflammation and ‘internal stress’.
Recent studies have shown what pollution can do to our health and body.
Due to low IQ of childrenResearchers at the University of California, San Francisco found in May 2019 that babies born to mothers living in polluted areas had a seven point lower IQ than those who live in places with clean air.
Reasons children have weak memoryResearchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health found that boys exposed to high levels of PM2.5 in the womb had poor memory by the age of 10.
developmental delay in childrenYoung people who live one-third of a mile from busy streets are twice as likely to score low on tests of communication skills in infancy, researchers at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health found in April. They were also more likely to have poor hand-eye coordination.
make kids more worriedScientists at the University of Cincinnati have claimed that pollution can make children more anxious by altering the structure of their brains. Their study of 14 youth found that those exposed to higher levels of pollution had higher rates of anxiety.
Shorten your child’s life: According to a report by the US-based Institute of Health Effects and the University of British Columbia in April 2019, babies born today will lose almost two years of their lives due to air pollution. UNICEF called for action to be taken behind the study.
Increase a child’s risk of autism: Researchers from Monash University in Australia found that 86 percent of young people living in highly polluted parts of Shanghai…