Exposure to fine dust (PM2.5) is linked to asthma in preschoolers. The research looked at 376 mothers’ homes, and found that those homes with PM2.5 exposure had an 18% chance of the children being diagnosed with asthma after 3 years, compared with 7% children overall in the U.S. Additionally, the research suggests that girls are more sensitive to exposure to ultrafine particles in the later stages of the pregnancy.
Earlier research in south Asia also associates PM2.5 exposure during pregnancy with increased likelihood of pregnancy loss. After adjusting for factors such as maternal age and long-term trends, researchers estimated that an increase of 10 g/m PM2.5 exposure during the gestational period increases the risk of pregnancy loss by 3%. Air pollution above the WHO air quality guidelines may even have contributed up to 29% of pregnancy losses
From 2000 to 2016, 2016, 349,681 pregnancy losses per year were associated with ambient exposure to air pollution – accounting for 7% of the total annual pregnancy loss burden in this region. Lead author on the study, Dr Tao Xue, from Peking University, China, said: ‘South Asia has the highest burden of pregnancy loss globally and is one of the most PM2.5 polluted regions in the world.