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Air Pollution Linked To Nearly Six Million Preterm Births Globally: Study

About 2.8 million low birth weight and 5.9 million preterm birth infants, globally, could have been averted in 2019 if the mean PM2.5 exposure during the entire pregnancy was reduced to the theoretical minimum risk exposure level, the authors of the study noted

Air Pollution Linked To Nearly Six Million Preterm Births Globally: Study
Highlights
  • Over 90% of the world's population lives with polluted outdoor air: WHO
  • Air pollution is common in Southeast Asia & sub-Saharan Africa: Study
  • Air pollution-attributable burden could be largely mitigated: Researcher

Los Angeles: Air pollution likely contributed to nearly six million premature births and almost three million underweight babies around the world in 2019, according to a study published on Wednesday (September 29). Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and University of Washington in the US quantified the effects of indoor and outdoor pollution around the world using data from 204 countries. The finding, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, is the most in-depth look yet at how small particulate matter (PM2.5) affects several key indicators of pregnancy, including gestational age at birth, reduction in birth weight, low birth weight, and preterm birth.

Also Read: Air Pollution One Of The Biggest Environmental Threats To Human Health, Says WHO, Toughens Guidelines

It is the first global burden of disease study of these indicators to include the effects of indoor air pollution, mostly from cook stoves, which accounted for two-thirds of the measured effects, the researchers said.

Our findings suggest that about 2.8 million low birth weight and 5.9 million preterm birth infants, globally, could have been averted in 2019 if the mean PM2.5 exposure during the entire pregnancy was reduced to the theoretical minimum risk exposure level, the authors of the study noted.

“South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa combined could have decreased the 2019 low birth weight and preterm birth incidence by about 78 per cent,” they added.

The researchers noted that preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal mortality worldwide, affecting more than 15 million infants every year. Children with low birth weight or who are born premature have higher rates of major illness throughout their lives, they explained.

The air pollution-attributable burden is enormous, yet with sufficient effort, it could be largely mitigated, said lead author Rakesh Ghosh, a public health specialist at UCSF.

Also Read: Estimated 57,000 Premature Deaths In Delhi Last Year Can Be Attributed To Air Pollution: Greenpeace

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 90 per cent of the world’s population lives with polluted outdoor air, and half the global population is also exposed to indoor air pollution from burning coal, dung and wood inside the home. The study concluded that the global incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight could be reduced by almost 78 per cent if air pollution were minimised in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where indoor pollution is common and preterm birth rates are the highest in the world.

However, it also found significant risks from ambient air pollution in more developed parts of the world. In the US, for example, outdoor air pollution is estimated to have contributed to almost 12,000 preterm births in 2019. Previously, the same research team quantified the effects of air pollution on early life mortality, concluding that it contributed to the deaths of 500,000 newborns in 2019.

Also Read: Primary Trial Of Smog Tower Completed, 90 Per Cent Reduction In Pollution Level Observed

With this new, global and more rigorously generated evidence, air pollution should now be considered a major driver of infant morbidity and mortality, not just of chronic adult diseases, Mr Ghosh said.

“Our study suggests that taking measures to mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution levels will have significant health co-benefit for newborns,” he added.

Also Read: World Facing COVID-19, Fragility, Conflict, Climate Change; We’re At Turning Point: UNGA

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India. 

World

26,27,61,966Cases
22,35,18,265Active
3,40,28,506Recovered
52,15,195Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,27,61,966 and 52,15,195 have died; 22,35,18,265 are active cases and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,45,96,776 8,954Cases
99,0231,520Active
3,40,28,506 10,207Recovered
4,69,247 267Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,96,776 confirmed cases including 4,69,247 deaths. The number of active cases is 99,023 and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,35,658 678

11,226 299

64,83,435 942

1,40,997 35

Kerala

51,41,814 4,723

44,314 824

50,57,368 5,370

40,132 177

Karnataka

29,96,148 291

6,445 462

29,51,492 745

38,211 8

Tamil Nadu

27,26,917 720

8,244 47

26,82,192 758

36,481 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,909 184

2,149 47

20,56,318 134

14,442 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,399 12

89 3

16,87,399 8

22,911 1

West Bengal

16,16,083 705

7,731 2

15,88,866 694

19,486 13

Delhi

14,40,934 34

287 2

14,15,549 32

25,098

Odisha

10,49,108 228

2,188 23

10,38,509 203

8,411 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,813 34

318 0

9,92,902 34

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,785 15

193 6

9,45,637 9

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,475 40

275 13

8,17,108 27

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,170 20

119 7

7,82,523 27

10,528

Haryana

7,71,709 17

163 2

7,61,492 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,223 4

36 3

7,16,524 7

9,663

Telangana

6,75,994 196

3,591 10

6,68,411 184

3,992 2

Assam

6,16,852 144

2,625 30

6,08,124 109

6,103 5

Punjab

6,03,279 21

325 4

5,86,352 22

16,602 3

Jharkhand

3,49,244 12

98 3

3,44,006 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,255 28

141 9

3,36,706 19

7,408

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,852 171

1,625 1

3,30,751 172

4,476

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,195 102

834 10

2,22,513 91

3,848 1

Goa

1,78,928 38

284 8

1,75,260 30

3,384

Mizoram

1,35,175 365

3,751 54

1,30,927 415

497 4

Puducherry

1,28,924 31

284 12

1,26,768 43

1,872

Manipur

1,25,205 36

649 6

1,22,579 40

1,977 2

Tripura

84,805 14

81 3

83,900 10

824 1

Meghalaya

84,480 19

294 9

82,713 9

1,473 1

Chandigarh

65,465 9

65 7

64,580 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,276 3

35 0

54,961 3

280

Sikkim

32,242 9

124 3

31,715 6

403

Nagaland

32,122 13

133 7

31,293 20

696

Ladakh

21,578 38

276 26

21,088 12

214

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 0

10,319

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683

6 2

7,548 2

129

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