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posted by martyb on Thursday December 07, @07:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the parents-also-breathe-that-air dept.

Toxic air puts 17 million babies' brains and lungs at risk: UNICEF

About 17 million babies worldwide live in areas where outdoor air pollution is six times the recommended limit, and their brain development is at risk, the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

The majority of these babies – more than 12 million – are in South Asia, it said, in a study of children under one-year-old, using satellite imagery to identify worst-affected regions.

"Not only do pollutants harm babies' developing lungs – they can permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures," said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.

The links between air pollution and dain bramage are not yet conclusive, according to the report's author.

UNICEF press release. Danger in the air (PDF).

Related: Air Quality Unsafe for 90% of People In Urban Centres
80 Percent of World's City Dwellers Breathing Bad Air: UN
Study Links Pregnant Women's Exposure to Air Pollution to Shorter Telomeres in Babies
Lancet Report Says Pollution Caused 9 Million Premature Deaths in 2015
Air Pollution Linked to Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures


Original Submission

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Air Quality Unsafe for 90% of People In Urban Centres 14 comments

Air pollution in many of the worlds cities is breaching guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Its survey of 1,600 cities in 91 countries revealed that nearly 90% of people in urban centres breathe air that fails to meet levels deemed safe.

The WHO says that about half of the world's urban population is exposed to pollution at least 2.5 times higher than it recommends.

Air quality was poorest in Asia, followed by South America and Africa.

80 Percent of World's City Dwellers Breathing Bad Air: UN 18 comments

Over 80 percent of the world's city dwellers breathe poor quality air, increasing their risk of lung cancer and other life-threatening diseases, a new World Health Organization (WHO) report warned Thursday.

Urban residents in poor countries are by far the worst affected, WHO said, noting that nearly every city (98 percent) in low- and middle-income countries has air which fails to meet the UN body's standards.

That number falls to 56 percent of cities in wealthier countries.

"Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health," Maria Neira, the head of WHO's department of public health and environment, said in a statement.

There may be something to this--children in New York City are twice as likely to be hospitalized for asthma as the national average.


Original Submission

Study Links Pregnant Women's Exposure to Air Pollution to Shorter Telomeres in Babies 30 comments

A study has found that pregnant women exposed to air pollution (as inferred by their residential addresses, not lung biopsies or something) give birth to babies with shorter telomeres, considered a sign of premature aging damage:

"Reducing exposure to air pollution is a good thing, for both the parents and for the unborn baby," said Pam Factor-Litvak, author of an accompanying editorial and a public health researcher at Columbia University in New York. "Prenatal exposure to air pollution is associated with a host of adverse outcomes," Factor-Litvak said by email.

For the study, Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Diepenbeek, Belgium, and colleagues examined telomere length from samples of cord blood and placental tissue for 641 newborns in the Flanders region. They also looked at mothers' exposure to pollutants known as PM 2.5, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can include dust, dirt, soot and smoke and are often found in traffic exhaust.

Some previous research has linked exposure to traffic fumes and air pollution to higher odds of infertility as well as an increased risk of delivering underweight or premature babies. Prior research has also linked shorter telomeres to an increased risk of a variety of chronic health problems in adults, including heart disease and cancer.

Also at CleanTechnica.

Prenatal Air Pollution and Newborns' Predisposition to Accelerated Biological Aging (open, DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3024) (DX)

Editorial: Environmental Exposures, Telomere Length at Birth, and Disease Susceptibility in Later Life (DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3562) (DX)


Original Submission

Lancet Report Says Pollution Caused 9 Million Premature Deaths in 2015 25 comments

A Lancet Commission report has found that pollution is now the leading cause of disease and death worldwide:

Exposure to polluted air, water and soil caused nine million premature deaths in 2015, according to a report published Thursday in The Lancet.

The causes of death vary — cancer, lung disease, heart disease. The report links them to pollution, drawing upon previous studies that show how pollution is tied to a wider range of diseases than previously thought.

Those studies observed populations exposed to pollutants and compared them to people not exposed. The studies have shown that pollution can be an important cause of diseases — many of them potentially fatal — including asthma, cancer, neurodevelopmental disorders, birth defects in children, heart disease, stroke and lung disease.

The nine million figure adds up to 16 percent of all deaths worldwide, killing three times more people than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Pollution is responsible for 15 times more deaths than wars and all other forms of violence. "No country is unaffected," the report notes. But 92 percent of those deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

Air pollution deaths in Southeast Asia are expected to double by 2050.

The Lancet Commission on pollution and health (DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32345-0) (DX)

Also at The Guardian and Human Rights Watch.

Related: Pollution responsible for quarter of deaths of young children, says WHO


Original Submission

Air Pollution Linked to Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures 8 comments

Air pollution has been linked to weakening of bones:

Poor air quality may be a modifiable risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures, especially among people living in low-income communities, according to a newly published analysis of data from two independent studies.

In one study researchers documented higher rates of hospital admissions for bone fractures in communities exposed to elevated levels of ambient particulate matter (PM2·5) air pollution in an analysis of data on more than nine million Medicare enrollees.

In another 8-year follow-up of approximately 700 middle-age, low-income adults participating in a bone health study, participants living in areas with relatively high levels of PM2·5 and black carbon vehicle emissions had lower levels of a key calcium and bone-related hormone and greater decreases in bone mineral density than participants exposed to lower levels of these air pollutants.

All associations were linear and observed -- at least for part of the PM2·5 distribution -- at PM2·5 concentrations below the annual average limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (12 μg/m3) and most other industrialized nations.

[...] The researchers acknowledged multiple limitations in both studies, which limit the ability to establish causality. But in an editorial [open, DOI: 10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30143-2] [DX] published with the studies, Tuan Nguyen, PhD, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in New South Wales, Australia, wrote that the studies are just the latest in a growing body of research linking air pollution exposure to osteoporosis: "Osteoporosis and its consequence of fragility fracture represent one of the most important public health problems worldwide because fracture is associated with increased mortality."

Association of air particulate pollution with bone loss over time and bone fracture risk: analysis of data from two independent studies (open, DOI: 10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30136-5) (DX)

Related: 80 Percent of World's City Dwellers Breathing Bad Air: UN
Study Links Pregnant Women's Exposure to Air Pollution to Shorter Telomeres in Babies
Lancet Report Says Pollution Caused 9 Million Premature Deaths in 2015


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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @07:20AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @07:20AM (#606689)

    The world is already overcrowded anyway, with demise of children come the demise of entire populations and the associated demand for goods.
    It is what environmentalist want right? Right?

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @07:34AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @07:34AM (#606699)

      Kill yourself.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @12:10AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @12:10AM (#607051)

        Tolerant Liberals hate being mocked more than they do terrorists, murderers or illegals. Why else would they wish every white fundamentalist misogynistic Christian would die, while demanding we import millions more brown fundamentalism misogynistic Muslims?

    • (Score: 2) by julian on Thursday December 07, @05:36PM

      by julian (6003) on Thursday December 07, @05:36PM (#606886)

      It is what environmentalist want right? Right?

      No. Happy to clear that up for you.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Thursday December 07, @07:42AM (4 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday December 07, @07:42AM (#606702) Homepage
    ... adults.

    A *billion* adults breath highly poisonous air every day - air containing known carcinogens and other poisons - that's way more concentrated and toxic than what these babies are breathing. And they *chose* to do so, even though the packs sometimes have horrible medical pictures on the boxes as a warning. A *billion* adults. And the world still keeps turning.
    --
    I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @09:15AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @09:15AM (#606726)

      I can't tell whether you're seriously trying to minimize the issue of children's health.
      Just in case: the adults *choose* to smoke.

      The kids don't choose where they are born, and they have no control over their environment.
      Their parents generally have no control over said environment either.
      In fact, by growing stupid children, the respective societies are ensuring that stupid adults who reproduce in poor environments (because they're stupid and have unprotected sex) will exist in the future.
      I personally find that wrong (and apparently UNICEF thinks it's wrong as well).

      • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:05PM (#606774)

        The kids don't choose where they are born, and they have no control over their environment.
        Their parents generally have no control over said environment either.

        Their parents do have control over their own penis and vagina. Whose problem it is when they choose not to use protection?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @09:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @09:34AM (#606735)

      A *billion* adults breath highly poisonous air every day
      And they *chose* to do so

      And I see whole nations drowning into their own fat Phil. But you don't seem to think of them at all!!1!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:00PM (#606772)

      Very few of those adults have their cigarettes in their mouth every few seconds around the clock. Even the chainsmokers stop when they're sleeping. But air quality in, for example, some major Chinese cities will attack your lungs without pause. That's considerably worse.

      This has always been the driver for my care for environmental concerns. Global warming doesn't matter to me. But I have two siblings and two kids that are asthmatic, and three of the four have been hospitalized for asthma attacks at least once. I'd like to see more switches to solar, wind, tidal, and (yes) nuclear power for their sake.

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Scrutinizer on Thursday December 07, @11:15AM

    by Scrutinizer (6534) on Thursday December 07, @11:15AM (#606758)

    Sounds like it's time for zero-emission, inexpensive, gravity-powered fail safe, nuclear reactors! Oak Ridge techs are back from their 1969 smoke break [wikipedia.org] and have H1B-ed themselves to Canada [world-nuclear-news.org] to start working on that groundbreaking 1960s tech.

    In the case that China gets the job done first [adamsmith.org], we're pretty sure we can license back the technology at reasonable rates our proud USian workers can afford.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aiwarrior on Thursday December 07, @11:16AM

    by aiwarrior (1812) on Thursday December 07, @11:16AM (#606759)

    Even if one was to look at the air pollution as an economic problem, the costs are huge, just not accounted correctly.

    What is the cost of a chronic pulmonary disease in terms of lost productivity of an individual?
    What is the cost of a chronic pulmonary disease in terms of facilities and personnel needed to cure or make it asymptomatic?
    What is the cost of child's potential as a human resource, being squandered because he/she was not able to go to school because he/she was always sick?

    Pollution management will take a very serious thought in the part of health and environmental agencies throughout the world. I hope for the best.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @06:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @06:27PM (#606921)

    these poor babies are probably dangerously low on their depleted uranium supplements. don't worry, US tax payers will have the liberators air drop some in soon. :)

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