Friday, September 27, 2019


Babies living in areas with high levels of air pollution have a greater risk of death than those surrounded by cleaner air, a study has found.  Babies aged up to one year had a greater chance of dying living in areas with the worst air pollution compared with areas with the cleanest air.

Dr Sarah Kotecha , a researcher at Cardiff University, said the results were difficult for pregnant women and their families to do much about. 

“You live where you live and you can’t avoid pollution day in day out,” she said, adding that it was down to policymakers to reduce pollution levels and for researchers to unpick how pollutants affect health. “If you can find out some of the mechanisms you can look at potential interventions.”

The team divided England and Wales into 35,000 areas, each containing approximately 1,500 residents, and looked at the annual death rates for babies up to one-year-old, together with the average annual levels for three pollutants.

 Prof Mireille Toledano, an expert in population child health at Imperial College London, said the study confirmed that air pollution is a major public health hazard, adding that current standards are failing to protect people.

Dr Penny Woods, the chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said action must be taken to tackle the public health crisis of air pollution – including introducing clean air zones in the most polluted cities.

“The evidence linking infant mortality and air pollution is still emerging but Dr Kotecha’s study, which suggests babies born in the UK’s most polluted areas see a significantly increased risk of death, should be a wake-up call..."  A second study found that exposure to PM10 from traffic during pregnancy and children’s early life was linked to a slightly lower lung function of the children at eight years old. “Both these studies concentrate on the damage done by air pollution to some of the most vulnerable members of our society – the very young,”

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