An important study conducted in the U.S. found out that air pollution has likely resulted in more than six million premature births and almost three million underweight babies in the year 2019.
The study was jointly conducted by the University of California-San Francisco and the University of Washington. They found out the effects of indoor and outdoor pollution on various key indicators of pregnancy, including gestational age at birth, reduction in birth weight and preterm birth etc.
This analysis was published in the journal PLOS Medicine. It stated that by 78 percent the global incidence of pre-term birth and low birthweight could be reduced if air pollution were minimised in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the place where indoor pollution is very common and preterm birth rates are the highest in the world.
Also in the US, outdoor air pollution is measured to have led to almost 12,000 preterm births in the year 2019.
Lead author Rakesh Ghosh, public health expert at the Institute for Global Health Sciences at UCSF said, “The air pollution-attributable burden is enormous, yet with sufficient effort, it could be largely mitigated."
“Our study suggests that taking measures to mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution levels will have significant health co-benefit for newborns,” Ghosh added.
Various pieces of evidence show that air pollution is a major cause of preterm birth and low birth weight. WHO estimates that more than 90 per cent of the population lives with polluted outdoor air and even half the global population is exposed to indoor air pollution from burning coal and wood inside the home.