EXCLUSIVEStudy finds women become much less effective at ‘clearing’ tiny particulates from pollutants like exhaust fumes or kitchen cleaners during pregnancy

Why air pollution harms pregnant women and their unborn babies

Air pollution harms for pregnant women , Pregnant women are at a particular health risk from traffic fumes and other air pollution, according to a new study the first research to reveal the link. It had been known that unborn foetuses were vulnerable to the pollution, but the major £3.4m government-backed study has now uncovered why. Preliminary results show that women become much less effective at “clearing” air pollution from their systems during pregnancy, making it more likely that they will pass tiny particulates from pollution from exhaust fumes to kitchen cleaners to the developing foetus. It is the first evidence that they react differently to women who are not pregnant – although more work is needed to confirm the findings.

Professor Cathy Thornton, the Swansea University academic behind the study, was surprised by the magnitude of the effect of air pollution on the ability of pregnant women to clear particulates from their systems. “I was already really aware of the air pollution harms pregnant women the pregnancy problem but doing this research has frightened me immensely,” she told i. “Pregnant women are not very good at taking up these particulates into the part of their immune system that would normally clear them. They are nowhere near as good as not-pregnant women. So that would suggest they may then be more available in a pregnant woman, which then means there is more likelihood of passing them to the placenta and the baby. It’s a bit frightening.”

Anti-pollution campaigner Rosamund Kissi-Debrah – whose nine year-old daughter Ella died from an asthma attack partly because of traffic fumes from London’s South Circular Road – told i: “We know air pollution is in the placenta, we know it can cause low birth weight, we know it affects cognitive development. “In my daughter’s case, the coroner said that without illegal levels of air pollution she wouldn’t even have got asthma in the first place. It literally can affect you in the womb and all across your lifespan and that’s terrifying.”

She is urging the Government to honour its own commitment to set tougher new air-quality targets by the end of October and says pregnant women should be careful about pollution. “Where they can, they should avoid very, very busy roads – that would be my advice – because that’s where the most harm happens,” she said. The new findings provide further evidence that foetuses are at heightened risk from air pollution – a new but rapidly expanding area of research – as it becomes increasingly clear that particulates pose a significant risk to the health of unborn babies that is hardly understood. And they give a very plausible explanation for two “wake-up call” studies in 2018 and 2019 – by Queen Mary University of London and Hasselt University in Belgium, respectively – which demonstrated for the first time that tiny particulates are accumulating in placentas – including on the foetal side, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed.

Source: This news is originally published by inews

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