Warning: air pollution's impact on unborn babies

Warning: air pollution's impact on unborn babies

Top expert warns of adverse effects on fetus due to air pollution

As air pollution continues to reach severe levels in Delhi-NCR, health experts are sounding the alarm about the harmful effects on unborn babies and declaring a massive health emergency. Dr. Arvind Kumar, a senior lung specialist at Medanta Hospital, has emphasized that air pollution affects people of all ages, including unborn children, due to its impact on expectant mothers. When a pregnant woman breathes in polluted air, the toxins travel to her lungs, enter the bloodstream, and reach the developing fetus through the placenta, causing adverse effects.

Impact on unborn children

Dr. Kumar explained that even though unborn children do not breathe outside air, they are not immune to the harm caused by air pollution. The polluted air the mother inhales indirectly affects the fetus. Once born, these children continue to breathe the same polluted air, which is equivalent to smoking 25-30 cigarettes in terms of bodily damage. This exposure can lead to various respiratory problems.

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Dr. Kumar emphasized that air purifiers are not a viable solution to combat air pollution. While they may reduce indoor air pollution, they cannot significantly improve air quality when the outside Air Quality Index (AQI) is extremely high. In Delhi, where the AQI often reaches 450-500, air purifiers' effectiveness is limited, and their filters need frequent replacement.

Additional health risks:

Air pollution has far-reaching health consequences, including childhood obesity and asthma. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to pollution increases the risk of chronic diseases and disabilities.
Dr. Kumar underlined the severity of the situation, citing evidence that air pollution leads to a wide range of diseases, premature deaths, and a significant reduction in life expectancy. He described the current state as a massive health emergency.

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Delhi's air quality remained in the "Severe" category for the fourth consecutive day, with a marginal dip in the Air Quality Index, as reported by the System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR-India).The persistence of severe air pollution in the region calls for urgent measures to safeguard public health, particularly among expectant mothers and young children.

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