Air pollution linked to fifth of pre-term births
Close to a fifth of premature births worldwide could be associated with mothers’ exposure to outdoor air pollution, according to a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). It showed that up to 2.7 million of the 14.9 million births worldwide considered as pre-term, i.e. taking place before 37 weeks of gestation, can be linked to mothers’ exposure to particulate matter PM2.5 levels above 10 micrograms per cubic metre of air (μg/m3).
“Pre-term births associated with this exposure not only contribute to infant mortality, but can have life-long health effects in survivors,” said Chris Malley, the study’s lead researcher.
According to the European Environment Agency, around 85–90 per cent of Europe’s urban population is exposed to PM2.5 levels above the WHO annual average threshold of 10 μg/m3.
Source: Ends Europe Daily, 17 February 2017
The study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412016305992