A study revealed that air pollution affects babies before they even take their first breath, which is a frightening discovery. Unborn children’s brains, lungs, and livers have been shown to contain toxic air pollutants, which could have long-term effects on their health. Within every cubic millimetre of tissue, thousands of black carbon particles were discovered.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen and Hasselt University in Belgium used the study to see if such particles might enter a developing foetus during pregnancy. They discovered that they could, which is concerning.
These harmful nanoparticles, also known as black carbon or soot particles, are produced by fossil fuel-burning power plants, gas and diesel engines, as well as other sources. As early as the first trimester, moms who are carrying fragile foetuses inhale the particles, which are then transferred to the foetuses through the placenta or blood. These not only inflame the body, but they also transport harmful compounds.
The current study provides specific information on how such harm may be brought about, even though it has long been known that dirty air is highly associated with an increase in miscarriages, early deliveries, low birth weights, and abnormal brain development.
According to Prof. Paul Fowler of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, “We have demonstrated for the first time that black carbon nanoparticles not only enter into the first and second trimester placenta but also find their way into the organs of the developing baby.”
Even more concerning, according to him, is that these particles enter the growing human brain. This indicates that these nanoparticles may directly interact with regulatory mechanisms in the organs and cells of the human foetus.
“Air quality regulating authorities should acknowledge this air pollution transfer during gestation and intervene to preserve the most susceptible periods of human development,” said Prof. Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium, who co-led the study.
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