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

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-10-20 06:31:29
Science

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 [reuters.com], 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 [cleantechnica.com].

Prenatal Air Pollution and Newborns' Predisposition to Accelerated Biological Aging [jamanetwork.com] (open, DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3024) (DX [doi.org])

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


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