Living near roads puts babies at risk
A new study has shown that living near a main road throughout your pregnancy could harm your unborn child.
The risk of delivering a baby of small weight rose significantly with each increase in pollution levels during the first three months and final three months of pregnancy.
Epidemiologist Professor David Rich, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and colleagues said it was unclear how air pollution restricts foetal growth. But previous research suggests cell activity may be affected because exposure to pollution cuts the amount of oxygen and nutrients a baby receives while in the womb.
The researchers based their findings on 336,000 births in New Jersey and daily readings of air pollution around the state.
Prof Rich, whose findings are published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, said: ‘A body of evidence is emerging from several countries on the adverse consequences of ambient air pollution on foetal/birth outcomes, including pre-term birth and foetal growth restriction. These findings suggest ambient air pollution, perhaps specifically traffic emissions during early and late pregnancy are strong factors.’