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Air Pollution Linked To Low Birth Weight

October 17, 2013
Environmental Protection

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p>A new Europe wide study has linked exposure to poor air quality and low birth weight babies. Worryingly, researchers from the European Research Institute even found that the problem occurred in areas where pollution met or was below current standards. Information was compiled using data from 14 studies in 12 European countries involving 74,178 women who had babies between 1994 and 2011. Air quality monitoring was carried out at several sites in each area between October 2008 and February 2011 with results then being modeled to give pollution levels at the time of pregnancy.The researchers estimated that if levels of PM 2.5 were reduced to 10?g/m?, around one in five (22%) cases of low birth weight among term deliveries could be prevented.

The true picture of how pollution affects foetal growth is the subject of further study but professor Jonathan Grigg from Queen Mary University is convinced that there is a connection, saying; “overall, maternal exposure to traffic-derived particulate matter probably increases vulnerability of their offspring to a wide range of respiratory disorders in both infancy and later life.? Lead author, Dr Marie Pedersen, from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona hopes the findings will influence future government policy.”Our findings suggest that a substantial proportion of cases of low birth weight at term could be prevented in Europe if urban air pollution, particularly fine particulate matter, was reduced.”