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Smog Exposure Linked to Low Birth Weight Babies

Expectant mothers tend to be cautious of many things as they await the arrival of their newborn. However, there is one element that no matter how cautious a mother is, she cannot avoid; air pollution. A new study out has determined that exposure to particulate air pollution increases the risk of low-birth weight babies. Particulate air pollution is commonly known as smog and the problem is that the type of air pollution is in the everyday air we all breathe. The study tracked over 3 million births in populated areas including the North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Researchers identified that the higher the amount of particulate pollution in an area, the more babies born with low-birth weight. However, while researchers have found this correlation, they have yet to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. Low-birth weight in babies is identified as a baby being born weighing 5.8 lbs or less. Low-birth weight babies can have many complications, chronic health problems, or die after birth. Low-birth weight can occur in premature and full-term births. Smog is produced by vehicle emissions, coal power plants, and a variety of other sources. The recent respiratory conditions in Beijing that hindered people from even leaving their homes may have set the stage for a report like this to make a difference. While many nations have actively been making strides to decrease the amount of pollutants in the air, the recent Beijing air-quality issue and this new correlation between smog and low-birth weight, emphasizes how much more work needs to be done. Sources: U.S. News and World Report/HealthDay - Health on TODAY - Medical Daily - US/World -
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