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Homechevron_rightSciencechevron_rightStudy shows lungs,...

Study shows lungs, livers, brains of unborn babies contain toxic air pollution particles

Study shows lungs, livers, brains of unborn babies contain toxic air pollution particles

Researchers have made a "groundbreaking" finding that is "very worrying": toxic air pollution particles have been identified in the lungs, livers, and brains of unborn babies, long before they have taken their first breath.

According to a report, Prof. Jonathan Grigg from Queen Mary University of London and colleagues discovered air pollution particles for the first time in placentas in 2018.

The new finding "have shown convincingly that the particles then get into the foetuses," according to Prof. Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium, who co-led the study, according to The Guardian.

The study was carried out in Scotland and Belgium, two countries with comparatively low levels of air pollution, with moms who did not smoke, NIE reported.

Each cubic millimetre of tissue contained thousands of black carbon particles, which were inhaled by the mother during pregnancy and transferred to the foetus via the placenta and bloodstream.

It was already well recognised that there was a direct link between dirty air and a rise in miscarriages, preterm births, low birth weights, and problems with brain development. However, the new study offers concrete proof of how such injury might occur. According to an article in The Guardian, the scientists warned that the pollution could have a long-term impact on one's health.

"We have shown for the first time that black carbon nanoparticles not only get into the first and second trimester placenta, but then also find their way into the organs of the developing foetus," Prof Paul Fowler, at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, was quoted as saying by the report.

"What is even more worrying is that these particles also get into the developing human brain," he said. "This means that it is possible for these nanoparticles to directly interact with control systems within human foetal organs and cells," he adds.

The 36 foetuses that were investigated in the Scottish portion of the study were reportedly the result of voluntary terminations of healthy pregnancies between seven and 20 weeks of gestation. The scientists stated, "The findings are especially concerning because this window of exposure is key to organ development." After 60 healthy newborns, cord blood samples were collected in Belgium.

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TAGS:Air pollutionToxicBabies
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