Thursday December 12, 2019

Exposure to Severe Air Pollution Can Lead to Birth Defects

"It is unclear yet what is causing these profound effects, but we speculate that the size of nanoparticles or even the acidity may be the culprit," Zhang said

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Pollution
A number of reports have stated that air pollution has been increasing exponentially in many cities in the country, with Delhi being cited as the world's most polluted capital city. VOA
Exposure to severe air pollution can cause birth defects and even fatalities during pregnancy, new research has found.
According to the World Health Organization, nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe air containing a high level of pollutants, and one of every 9 global deaths can be attributed to exposure to air pollution, totalling over 7 million premature deaths a year.
The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed definitive proof of decreased fetal survival rates, and also shortened gestation rates that can result in smaller body weight, in addition to damage to brains, hearts and other organs in the adult rat models.
The research team used female rats and examined the adverse health effects of exposure to fine particulate matter consisting of ammonium sulfate commonly found in many locations around the world.
During winter months in India and China, where severe haze occurs frequently, fine particulate matter levels were especially high at several hundred micrograms per cubic meter, said the researchers.
India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A bird flies past the Humayun’s Tomb shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA
“People typically believe that ammonium sulfate may not be terribly toxic, but our results show large impacts on female pregnant rats,” said Renyi Zhang, Professor at Texas A&M University in the US.
“It is unclear yet what is causing these profound effects, but we speculate that the size of nanoparticles or even the acidity may be the culprit,” Zhang said.
Sulfate is mainly produced from coal burning, which is a major energy source for much of the world in both developed and developing countries. Ammonium is derived from ammonia, which is produced from agricultural, automobile and animal emissions.
“So this certainly represents a major problem worldwide,” Zhang added. (IANS)

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Reduction in Air Pollution May Increase Life-Expectancy: Study

Findings of a Research indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution

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Pollution
Fortunately, reducing air Pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Pixabay

Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, reviewed interventions that have reduced air pollution at its source. It looked for outcomes and time to achieve those outcomes in several settings, finding that the improvements in health were striking.

Starting at week one of a ban on smoking in Ireland, for example, there was a 13 per cent drop in all-cause mortality, a 26 per cent reduction in ischemic heart disease, a 32 per cent reduction in stroke, and a 38 per cent reduction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interestingly, the greatest benefits in that case occurred among non-smokers.

“We knew there were benefits from pollution control, but the magnitude and relatively short time duration to accomplish them were impressive,” said lead author Dean Schraufnagel from the American Thoracic Society in the US.

“Our findings indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately,” Schraufnagel added.

Pollution
Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests. Pixabay

According to the researchers, In the US a 13-month closure of a steel mill in Utah resulted in reducing hospitalisations for pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis and asthma by half.

School absenteeism decreased by 40 per cent, and daily mortality fell by 16 per cent for every 100 µg/m3 PM10 (a pollutant) decrease.

Women who were pregnant during the mill closing were less likely to have premature births.

A 17-day ‘transportation strategy,’ in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Olympic Games involved closing parts of the city to help athletes make it to their events on time, but also greatly decreased air pollution.

In the following four weeks, children’s visits for asthma to clinics dropped by more than 40 per cent and trips to emergency departments by 11 per cent. Hospitalizations for asthma decreased by 19 per cent.

WHO
Findings of the Study indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately. Wikimedia Commons

Similarly, when China imposed factory and travel restrictions for the Beijing Olympics, lung function improved within two months, with fewer asthma-related physician visits and less cardiovascular mortality.

“Fortunately, reducing air pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Sweeping policies affecting a whole country can reduce all-cause mortality within weeks,” Schraufnagel said.

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Local programmes, such as reducing traffic, have also promptly improved many health measures, said the study. (IANS)