Pregnant women who are exposed to large amounts of outdoor pollution like smog are at a higher risk of giving birth to children with low birth weight, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (February 6).
The study, which included researchers from UC San Francisco and the National Center for Health Statistics, surveyed over three million births in nine nations at 14 sites of North and South America as well as Europe, Asia and Australia.
"What's significant is that these are air-pollution levels to which practically everyone in the world is commonly exposed," study co-principal investigator Tracey Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release.
"These microscopic particles, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, are in the air that we all breathe."
Infants with low birth weight (i.e. below 5.5 pounds) are prone to serious health complications like increased risk of postnatal morbidity, and mortality followed by chronic health problems in later life.
The researchers noted that locales with higher regulations on emissions have lower levels of air pollution.
by RTT Staff Writer
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