Air pollution linked to ‘missed’ miscarriages in China: study

16-Oct-2019 Intellasia | | 8:11 AM Print This Post

Ultrafine and ultratoxic

Most human-made air pollutants are extremely small: Particulate matter is about the diameter of a hair, and ultrafine particulate matter is even smaller. It’s so tiny, in fact, it can travel from the lungs into our blood and circulate in the brain.

The myriad harmful health effects of air pollution are well known and range from respiratory illnesses and children’s cognitive decline to infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome and dementia. Nearly one million children die every year from pneumonia and half of those deaths are linked to air pollution.

The Chinese study is not the first to have found a link between air pollution and miscarriages — in February 2019, a study conducted in Salt Lake City in the United States, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, found a increase of 20 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter was associated with a 16% rise in the risk of miscarriage.

The National Stadium (lower R), known as the Bird's Nest and built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is pictured on a polluted day in Beijing (AFP)

The National Stadium (lower R), known as the Bird’s Nest and built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is pictured on a polluted day in Beijing (AFP)

That study analyzed the records of around 1,300 women between 2007 and 2015 who presented to the emergency department after having miscarriages. It found the strongest link between air pollution and lost pregnancy was the level of nitrogen dioxide in the seven days preceding a miscarriage.

Growing concern

Five years ago, the Chinese government declared a somewhat controversial “war on pollution,” but air pollution levels in many cities around the country are still extremely toxic.

With global greenhouse gas emissions showing no sign of slowing down, China is not the only country with an air pollution problem. The World Health Organization says 91% of the world’s population now lives in cities where the air is toxic.

The authors of the study noted that they will need to do more research to understand how air pollution affects the fetus, including modeling a wide range of environmental conditions using more data sources, particularly to include land use and land cover.

https://www.dw.com/en/air-pollution-linked-to-risk-of-silent-miscarriage-study/targetText=The%20Chinese%20study%20is%20not,in%20the%20risk%20of%20miscarriage.

 


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