Air pollution increases risk of premature birth
New study finds that pregnant moms living in cities are 30 percent more likely to give birth prematurely.
Tue, Oct 11 2011 at 2:00 PM
Two new studies emerged over the weekend that highlight the importance of clean air for pregnant moms and the health of their growing babies.
In the first study, which I wrote about this morning, researchers in Denmark found that a pregnant woman who is exposed to pollutants at work has a significantly higher risk of her child developing asthma later in life. In the second study, researchers from the other side of the Atlantic found that the pollutants a pregnant mother is exposed to greatly affect her chances of giving birth prematurely.
In this study, researchers at the University of California evaluated the records of 100,000 births within a five-mile radius of air-quality monitoring stations throughout the state. They found that women who were exposed to elevated levels of pollutants were more likely to have a premature birth than those who were not.
Traffic fumes were the biggest offender. Pollutants in traffic fumes called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), increased the likelihood of premature birth by 30 percent. Ammonium nitrate from agriculture and industry sources increased the risk of premature birth by 21 percent; while benzene, a byproduct of diesel fumes, heightened the risk of premature birth by 10 percent.
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