A new study has found that pollution caused by car exhausts could be more harmful than smoking.
Pollution caused by car exhausts could be more harmful than smoking, a new study conducted by the University of Florida has found. The fumes are a particular risk to pregnant women, as carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide have been linked to high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy.
Dr Xiaohui Xu, an assistant professor of epidemiology in the colleges of Public Heath and Health Professions and Medicine, said: “Foetal development is very sensitive to environmental factors.”
“That is why we wanted to do this research. Hypertension (high blood pressure), in particular, is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, causing a lot of problems for the mother and foetus, including pre-term delivery,” he added.
The study sampled 22,000 pregnant women in the Jacksonville area. It found those women in the first two trimesters of their pregnancies exposed to air pollutants were more at risk than those exposed to tobacco smoke. The researchers are now calling for greater air pollution control to prevent pregnancy complications and protect unborn babies.
Hypertension is estimated to affect around 10 per cent of pregnancies.
Dr. Xu said: “We are trying to look at several outcomes. We also want to look at preterm delivery and low birth-weight and find out what the effects of breathing contaminated air are on foetal development.”
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