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Poor Air Quality Can Be Dangerous To Pregnant Women

Researchers at the Texas A&M University found that a mother’s exposure to certain air pollutants can be life-threatening to her baby while she’s pregnant. The scariest part of this study is that the specific pollutants tested can be found everywhere, especially in areas where there’s a lot of economic activity. Air quality is not really something that’s on everyone’s minds, but after the publishing of this study, people should be paying more attention to it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are about 4.2 million deaths every year due to ambient air pollution. Exposure to air pollutants is directly linked with the development of health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections. Both short-term and long-term exposure to molecules such as particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide will have lasting negative effects on one’s health.

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The WHO also advises that ambient air pollution will be detrimental to expecting mothers, as they will result in “low birth weight, pre-term birth, and small gestational age births.” In line with this warning, researchers at the Texas A&M University found that maternal exposure to poor air quality led to increased stillbirths, premature delivery, and low-weighing babies at birth. The experiment was conducted on 10 pregnant rats and exposed them to clean air with “100 to 200 per cubic meter air of ultra-fine aerosols of ammonium sulphate.”

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Scientists speculate that the specific causes of the adverse effects on the babies are the size of the nanoparticles or their acidity. Sulphate mainly comes from coal burning and other combustions from non-renewable energy, and ammonium is found in the emissions from agricultural, automobile, and animal industries. These are emissions found worldwide, so it’s not a problem concentrated in one area.

While the issue of ambient air pollution is frightening, there are ways to minimize its damage until we completely turn to greener energy. Spending more time away from the city will probably do you some good, and ensuring that the house is properly ventilated is a good step. Some companies make curtains that also act as air filters, and this would be a good investment for expecting mothers.

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