Large-scale study links air pollution to low birth weight in infants
According to a new research whose findings were published only yesterday in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, women who spend a considerable amount of time exposed to various levels of air pollution risk giving birth to smaller children.What worries the specialists who have investigated this issue first and foremost is not so much the harmful chemical compounds that make their way into the air we breathe, but the fine particulate matters released when burning various types of fuels.
Once inhaled, these tiny airborne particles tend to build up in a woman's organism, and therefore can easily end up impairing the growth of the child she is carrying.
In order to reach these conclusions, a team of international researchers have collected and analyzed data concerning a total of 3 million infants delivered across nine nations, including the US, South Korea and Brazil, Scientific American reports.
Furthermore, the scientists gave due attention to information having to do with the distribution of airborne particulate matter (PM), whose diameter revolved around 2.5 micrometers – 10 micrometers.
Thus, they came to understand that, as epidemiologist Payam Dadvand puts it, “Those centers that have higher levels of air pollution report higher risks of low birth weights compared with those centers that have lower levels of pollution.”
Seeing how low birth weight more often than not ups the risk of infant mortality and childhood diseases, this comes as troubling news indeed.
More so given the fact that low birth weight can also be linked to an individual's developing various physical and mental conditions later in life.
Despite their efforts to put a leash on whatever socioeconomic and lifestyle-related factors might toy with these results, the researchers admit that, in some cases, they were unable to determine whether or not the mother had smoked during pregnancy or how much time she had spent breathing in contaminated air.