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Home ยป Toxic air pollution particles found in lungs and brains of unborn babies

Toxic air pollution particles found in lungs and brains of unborn babies

Toxic air pollution particles found in lungs and brains of unborn babies

90% of the population lives in places where pollution is above World Health Organization guidelines and a new study has revealed that small particles of air pollution, such as those from smog, cross the blood-brain barrier and can affect the lungs and brains of fetuses.

Toxic air pollution

The finding, published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, found thousands of black carbon particles inhaled by mothers in Scotland and Belgium, who were studied during their pregnancy, which then passed through the bloodstream and placenta.

Professor Paul Fowler from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland said:

“We have shown for the first time that black carbon nanoparticles not only enter the first and second trimester placenta but also reach the organs of the developing fetus.” “What is even more worrying is that these particles also enter the developing human brain.” “This means that it is possible for these nanoparticles to directly interact with control systems within human fetal organs and cells.”

Professor Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium, who co-led the study, said: “Air quality regulation must recognize this transfer [of air pollution] during gestation and act to protect the most susceptible stages of human development.”

He said governments are responsible for reducing air pollution, but people should avoid busy roads whenever possible.

Air pollution particles were first detected in the placentas in 2018 by Professor Jonathan Grigg of Queen Mary University of London and his colleagues.

He said “The new study is very good: they have convincingly shown that the particles then enter fetuses. “Seeing particles entering the brain of fetuses raises the stakes because this potentially has lifelong consequences for the child.”

“It’s concerning, but we still don’t know what happens when particles lodge in multiple places and their chemicals slowly leach out,” meaning more research is needed.

Air pollution damaging every organ

A comprehensive global review in 2019 concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body. Tiny particles have also been found to cross the blood-brain barrier, with billions found in the hearts of young city dwellers. More than 90% of the world’s population lives in places where air pollution is above World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, leading to millions of premature deaths each year.

The new research, published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, found air pollution particles in every sample of lung, liver and brain tissue examined, as well as blood from the umbilical cord and placenta. The concentration of particles was higher when the mother lived with higher levels of air pollution compared to others in the study.

Thus, the scientists discovered these air pollution particles in every sample of lung, liver and brain tissue examined, as well as in the blood of the umbilical cord and placenta of the fetus.

The 36 fetuses examined were from voluntary terminations of pregnancies that normally progressed between seven and 20 weeks’ gestation from Scotland. Meanwhile, in Belgium, umbilical cord blood samples were taken from 60 healthy births.

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