How air pollution affects the growth retardation in children

Minor and largely already familiar (especially to large cities) exhaust gases, microscopic dust particles and other polluting agents no doubt have a negative impact on our health. Each year, about 4 million people die because of dangerous particles in the air, and this is just data from the world health organization. But can this air have a negative effect on people not yet born but are in the womb? Researchers from the Institute for global health in Barcelona would say Yes.

According to scientists, if a pregnant woman is in conditions of air pollution during the first trimester (first 3 months of pregnancy), it may subsequently lead to stunted growth in her child. And the dirty environment has an impact not only in the first months of baby’s life and up to 4 years! Under the area with the “polluted air”, as defined by the researchers, suitable for almost any major metropolis, such as Moscow or Saint Petersburg.

The sources of air pollution

To find out, Spanish researchers conducted a study involving over 1700 pregnant women who live in the following cities of Spain: Asturias, Gipuzkoa, Sabadell and Valencia. With the help of monitoring stations they studied the contents in the air of these regions, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), it is usually “throw away” plants and PM2.5 — fine dust that exist in any city, which is basically raise the car. After the first trimester, they have begun to track children’s health, making assessment of their height and weight, measuring your waist size mom and blood pressure.

Part of polluted air is a mixture of particles, each of which the size does not exceed 2.5 micrometers in diameter. When inhaled into the lungs, these particles are mainly deposited there, but they are so small that they can enter the bloodstream and spread thanks to a developed system of blood vessels in our organs and tissues.

Accordingly, prior to the fetus of a pregnant life they get as well as to her heart, liver and other organs.

After having children, the researchers continued their surveillance until the time they turned 4 years old. During this time, the scientists recorded a decrease in weight and body mass index of children to 30% in comparison with the reference scales who. The greatest impact of fine dust PM2.5, with retardation of growth and weight gain in boys is stronger than girls. In addition, hundreds of children have been identified the risk of cardiovascular disease, but to associate this with environmental dangers failed.

Previously it was thought that air pollution affects children, but only in the first months of their lives. Just nobody did so extensive research how Spanish scientists. The first trimester of pregnancy were selected specifically because it is that time is the most important for fetal development. He is just beginning to emerge, and at this stage it appears the cardiovascular system of the child.

To make the study more accurate, the researchers previously conducted a survey of mothers. They were asked about harmful habits (Smoking, alcohol, etc.), diseases, lifestyle. But still we cannot exclude that in a particular case, the height and weight of the child had the influence of hereditary factors, for example, physical activity of the mother, not the environmental situation.

What is dangerous dirty air

In fact, the above-mentioned regions of Spain cannot be called highly polluted, so it’s frightening to imagine that if you conduct a similar experiment in the larger cities, for example, in new York, London or Moscow. In these cities, the content of harmful substances and fine dust are much higher. Only in Russia due to air pollution life expectancy is decreased on average by 9 months. Now there are even special online mapwhere you can study the concentration of air polluting elements by districts of Moscow. Near the areas where the burn methane, the concentration of harmful substances is often higher than normal. Not to mention the constant emissions of hydrogen sulfide — this information periodically appears in the media.