Underweight newborns due to air pollution
Air pollution has a negative effect on the birth weight of children. An international team of researchers with the participation of such renowned institutions as the US health agency "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" (CDC), Yale University (USA); The University of British Columbia (Canada), Utrecht University (Netherlands), Newcastle University (England), Ewha Womans University in Seoul (South Korea) and the University of Sydney (Australia), has carried out a comprehensive investigation into possible connections between the Air pollution and child birth weight are analyzed.
In earlier studies, there was increasing evidence that "maternal pollution from air pollution has a negative impact on fetal growth," the researchers report in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives". However, the existing specialist literature came to inconsistent results. Therefore, the researchers evaluated the data from 14 birth centers in nine countries worldwide. In total, the scientists were able to access the data from around three million births in their meta-analysis. "To check the relationship between maternal exposure to particulate matter and low birth weight," the researchers compared the newborn's data with the estimated local air pollution. Births in Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America were taken into account. The higher the air pollution, the more children were born underweight, the researchers write.
Fine dust pollution of mothers leads to lower birth weight of children In their investigations, the scientists assessed the fine dust pollution in the air with particles smaller than 10 micrometers (PM10) and smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5). When comparing the fine dust concentration - measured in micrograms per cubic meter - with the birth weight of the children, there was a connection with a too low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg) for both high PM10 and high PM2.5 loads. For the children, according to the experts, the low birth weight often leads to an increased susceptibility to diseases in the first weeks of life, they are at a higher risk of dying early and suffer more from chronic diseases overall. State regulation or minimization of air pollution was therefore urgently advised. For example, the "Clean Air Act" in the United States showed that the cost of reducing air pollution is lower than the "benefit for the health and well-being" of the population, reports the co-author of the article, Tracey Woodruff from from the University of California in San Francisco.
National air pollution limits The results of the international team of researchers are worrying and illustrate the urgent need for national air pollution reduction laws. Because in countries with stricter laws against air pollution not only the actual pollution of the air we breathe is lower, but also significantly fewer children are born with too little birth weight. Limits of air pollution like in the USA through the Clean Air Act, which prescribes a maximum PM10 concentration of 150 micrograms per cubic meter of air as a daily average, which may be exceeded at most once a year, have an extremely far-reaching effect. In the European Union, a daily mean value for the PM10 concentration of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air applies, which may be exceeded a maximum of seven days a year. In addition, an annual mean value of 20 micrograms per cubic meter of air must be observed across Europe for PM10 fine dust pollution. (fp)