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City Pollution Linked to Premature Birth

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New research on 100,000 newborns found that pollution emitted by vehicles can cause harm to pregnant women and their unborn babies leading to low birth weights and premature births.

The results suggest that the air carried more pollutants in the winter as oppose to summer and that inner city areas were more likely to be affected than more suburban areas.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, used information derived from health officials regarding the health of moms and babies born within 5 miles of air quality monitoring stations in LA. Information was gathered over 22 months, before investigations were carried on in search for any causal relations.

Researcher from the University of California, Dr Beate Ritz, explained that these results suggest that pollutants can contribute to premature birth and so they should be a concern to mothers-to-be.

Diesel emissions were linked to a 10% higher risk of premature birth whilst ammonium nitrate fine particles were suggested to increase the risk by 21%.

“Critical Pollutants” including those connected with car exhausts, were linked to a huge 30% increase in premature births.

Dr Reitz continued, “To reduce the effects of these pollutants on public health, it is important that accurate modelling of local and regional spatial and temporal air pollution be incorporated into pollution policies.”

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