Swiss study links maternal air pollution exposure to infant breathing problems October 9, 2008
Dr. Philipp Latzin and his co-authors reported their findings at the 18th Annual Congress of the European Respiratory Society, according to a Reuters Health wire service story.
Latzin's team performed a variety of standard lung function tests in 241 healthy full-term infants at 5 weeks of age.
They also measured mother's exposure to particulate air pollution and how far they had to travel on major roads during pregnancy.
Particulate air pollution includes tiny particles such as soot, ash, dust, and acid droplets. Some particulate matter is naturally produced, but much of it comes from sources such as smokestacks or vehicle exhaust (especially from diesel engines).
Infants born to mothers with high exposure to particulates moved more air into their lungs during each minute of breathing than infants born to mothers with low exposure. IThey noted that the infants of higher pollution-exposed mothers breathed 48 times per minute on average, whereas infants of low pollution-exposed mothers breathed 42 times per minute.
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