Декабря 14, 2017


17 million babies breathing toxic air worldwide

06 Декабря 2017, 08:21 | Winifred Adams

Air pollution may cause permanent damage to your child's brain: Unicef

Air Pollution May Permanently Damage Your Child's Brain says UNICEF

Even as the National Capital and adjoining regions are grappling smog and air pollution for over a month now, the issue has been raised at the highest global level as United Nations worldwide Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has taken a serious view of the situation.

Its report, "Danger in the air: How air pollution can affect brain development in young children", states that breathing in particulate air pollution can both undermine cognitive development and damage brain tissue.

The report comes at a time when north India, particularly Delhi and adjoining areas, battle high pollution levels with air quality swaying from "very poor" to "emergency" levels, restricting physical activity and forcing closure of schools.

According to a report released by the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, on Wednesday, 17 million babies younger than 1 year old breathe toxic air.

In a statement Wednesday, UNICEF said that satellite imagery showed South Asia was home to the biggest proportion of babies - 12.2 million - living in the worst-affected areas.

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

“No child should have to breathe dangerously polluted air – and no society can afford to ignore air pollution, ” Mr. Lake concluded.

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The links of pollution with asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases in the long course are known for a long time.

The report highlights the relationship between pollution and brain functions " like memory and verbal IQ and non-verbal, test results, lower scores among schoolchildren, as well as other neurological problems ".

Air pollution potentially affects children's brains through several mechanisms.

The World Health Organization recommends that the level of pollutants in the air not exceed 20 micrograms per cubic meter (.02 parts per million).

UNICEF urged more efforts to cut pollution, and also to reduce children's exposure to the poisonous smog which has frequently reached hazardous levels in Indian cities in recent weeks.

According to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report for 2017, almost 40 percent of the United States' population still live in counties that have unhealthful levels of air pollution. "A mask that does not fit the face well won't work".

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