As many as 2.7 million premature births a year – 18% of the global total – can be linked to outdoor air pollution, a study in Environment International found.
When women give birth at less than 37 weeks, their offspring are more likely to die in infancy or suffer from learning difficulties, hearing and sight problems through their life.
“This study highlights that air pollution may not just harm people who are breathing the air directly – it may also seriously affect a baby in its mother’s womb,” said Chris Malley, lead a
Previous research, mainly in the US and Europe, has established the level of small particulates – PM2.5 – in the air as one of the factors that affects the preterm birth rate.
For this latest study, researchers took those findings and applied them to 2010 air quality and health data from 183 countries to estimate the global scale of the problem.
Pregnant women in China, India, the Middle East, and western Africa were most likely to go into labor early as a result of hazy conditions, they found.
Read more at Air Pollution Linked to 2.7 Million Premature Births a Year