Nick Collins has reported on Feb. 6, 2013, for The Telegraph, Air pollution during pregnancy linked to low birth weight. Researchers from Newcastle University have reported breathing in traffic fumes significantly increases the risk of having a baby which weighs less than 5lb 8oz (2.5kg). Babies who are born below this threshold are more likely to die prior to birth, and to suffer from conditions such as heart disease and stroke as well as a host of chronic illnesses later in life.
In a news release on Feb. 6, 2013, Karin Rush-Monroe has reported for the University of California San Fransisco, Maternal Exposure to Air Pollution Linked to Low Birth Weights Worldwide. According to researchers from UC San Francisco and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mothers who are exposed to particulate air pollution of the type which is emitted by vehicles, urban heating and coal power plants are significantly more likely to bear children of low birth weight. This was the largest study of its kind ever performed, with data analyzed which was collected from more than three million births in nine nations at 14 sites in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The researchers found that at sites worldwide, the higher the pollution rate, the greater the rate of low birth weight. Researcher Tracey J. Woodruff, PhD, MPH, has said, “What’s significant is that these are air pollution levels to which practically everyone in the world is commonly exposed. These microscopic particles, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, are in the air that we all breathe.” Woodruff has also said, “In the United States, we have shown over the last several decades that the benefits to health and well being from reducing air pollution are far greater than the costs. This is a lesson that all nations can learn from.”