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emfizz.com December 16, 2017


Air pollution, smog may permanently damage children's brain, warns UNICEF report

08 December 2017, 01:04 | Jan Cross

Air pollution, smog may permanently damage children's brain, warns UNICEF report

Babies brains at risk from toxic pollution UN

There are 136 million children under the age of 1 globally, which means one in eight are being exposed to toxic air, the United Nations children's fund said.

The air quality in New Delhi is worse with pollutants soaring as high as 12 times the safety standards.

There has been the linking between air pollution and respiratory diseases since forever, but UNICEF claimed in a report which claims that there is a growing body of scientific research stating that air pollution can damage a child's brain that too permanently.

Its report said there was a link to "verbal and non-verbal IQ and memory, reduced test scores, grade point averages among schoolchildren, as well as other neurological behavioural problems".

The report sets out a range of ways that the impact of air pollution on babies' brains could be lowered. The variety of types of pollutants that are in the air across different environments make it hard to determine the full impact of air pollution. "These neural connections shape a child's optimal thinking, learning, health, memory, linguistic and motor skills".

"We will not be able to end child deaths - and provide children with a fair start in life - without addressing the environmental risks that they face", he said.

Unicef reports says that these ultrafine particulates such as PM2.5 which easily enter the bloodstream, then travel to the brain which damages the blood-brain barrier, a very thin membrane in the brain that protects it from the toxic substances entering the brain. It found that pregnant women exposed to air pollution were more likely to give birth to underweight babies.

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The Unicef elaborates the effects says the risk begins in the womb.

"No child should have to breathe dangerously polluted air and no society can afford to ignore air pollution", said Lake.

Parents can prevent damage by not exposing children to harmful fumes produced by tobacco products, cooking stoves and heating fires at home. The report recommends wider use of filter masks in developing countries and for children to not be allowed to travel outside during spikes in pollution.

With damage to brain tissue, the cognitive development of children is affected.

These include investing in renewable sources of energy to cut air pollution, increasing the amount of green spaces in urban areas, and improving both knowledge and monitoring of air pollution.

UNICEF has suggested that immediate action must be taken to reduce air pollution amid emerging evidence.



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