Air pollution is responsible for 6 million premature births worldwide each year, according to a study from the University of California (United States) which has condensed the results of several previous studies. It would also cause the birth of 3 million babies suffering from underweight, reveals The Guardian relayed by Slate.
For this study, researchers searched 108 articles on indoor and outdoor pollution, correlated with four main pregnancy risks: gestational age at birth, low baby weight, low birth weight, and childbirth. premature. The conditions of childbirth, in no less than 204 countries, were analyzed by the researchers.
Very polluted Asia
By ruling out certain risk factors (weight during pregnancy, smoking, alcohol and nutrition), researchers found that low birth weight and premature birth were often linked to air pollution. Premature birth is the cause of 15 million newborn deaths each year worldwide.
The harmful effects of this pollution are especially visible in South Asia and East Asia. Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan are home to 49 of the 50 most polluted cities in the world, notes the Guardian.
Indoor air more dangerous
Indoor pollution, mainly from stoves burning charcoal or wood, has a much greater impact than outdoor pollution. “At the individual level, exposure to indoor air pollution appears to carry a much heavier burden compared to outdoor levels”, said epidemiologist Rakesh Ghosh, lead author of the study.
Researchers advocate reducing air pollution in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. This would reduce the number of premature births and babies with low birth weight by almost 78% worldwide.