Sunday, 15 Dec 2019

‘Infants exposed to air pollution have greater risk of death’

The study found that babies aged up to one year had a greater risk of dying if they are living in areas with the worst air pollution as compared to areas with the cleanest air.

Babies living in areas with high levels of air pollution are at greater risk of death than those who are growing up in cleaner air, suggests a study.

While the relation between air pollution and infant mortality has been studied earlier, the recent study focuses on different pollutants and its impact at different points in babies’ lives.

The research was based on data for almost eight million live births in England and Wales between 2001 and 2002. For each pollutant, the team compared the death rate for babies in areas rated the worst fifth of polluted areas with those in the best fifth.

The study found that babies aged up to one year had a greater risk of dying if they are living in areas with the worst air pollution as compared to areas with the cleanest air.

The results held across all three pollutants, with the odds of death 7 per cent worse for NO2, 4 per cent worse for PM10 and 19 per cent worse for SO2. The study also suggested that only SO2 was associated with deaths within a baby’s first 28 days.

Another study found that exposure to PM10 from traffic during pregnancy and a child’s early life was linked to a slightly lower lung function of the children at eight years old, although the effect diminished by the age of 15.

“You live where you live and you can’t avoid pollution day in day out. If you can find out some of the mechanisms you can look at potential interventions,” said Dr Dr Sarah Kotecha, researcher at Cardiff University.

Also Read| Air pollution harms a newborn more than an adult. Here’s how

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