Moms-to-be, beware. Exposure to air pollution can lead to birth defects, low IQ in kids
Women exposed to air pollution during preconception period or one month after the conception have increased risk of their children being born with birth defects like cleft lip or palate or abnormal hearts.fitness Updated: Dec 28, 2017 10:21 IST
A shocking new study revealed the significant association between air pollution and birth defects. The 2017 study, published in Journal of Pediatrics, found that women exposed to air pollution during preconception period or one month after the conception have increased risk of their children being born with birth defects like cleft lip or palate or abnormal hearts.
The birth certificate data was used from the Ohio Department of Health and particulate matter data from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 57 monitoring stations throughout Ohio to study the impact of air pollutants on children’s development. Researchers calculated the average exposures by linking the geographic coordinates of the mother’s residence for each birth with the nearest monitoring station.
The result came after studying the association between abnormalities at birth and the mother’s exposure to increased levels of fine particulate matter in the air during pregnancy. Dangers of air pollution seem to be growing each passing day, a concern that has been raised by many experts, environmentalists, public and private sectors and NGOs. Measures to curb air pollution needs to be one of the high priorities in national agenda since improving air quality has potential to provide a healthier future for children.
Dr Praveen Gupta , Director Neurology, Fortis Gurgaon, said, “With the current scenario, the situation is getting worse. Air pollution has adverse effect on children -- it causes irritability, suffocation, decreased attention and concentration leading to poor performance. The pollutants through their blood travels to different parts of the body including brain, which causes decrease in IQ level and other related problems.”
Dr. Himanshu Garg, Head, Department of Respiratory and critical care, Artemis Hospital, said, “The high pollution levels are now a new reality, at time when the change from hazardous to very severe level is welcomed. New and striking evidence is emerging linking the increasing levels of pollution and increasing birth defects. The high incidence of neural tube in newborns where the spinal cord is not formed well even amongst the well nourished mother’s is an example which thought to increasing because of higher pollution levels”
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