Air Pollutants Can Be Passed From Mother To Unborn Baby And Enter Developing Brains And Lungs, A New Study Finds

spaskov - - illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

Past research has extensively analyzed the effects of air pollution on various swaths of the population– including elders, adults, children, and infants.

Now, though, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Aberdeen and Hasselt University has revealed that even unborn babies are falling victim to polluted air.

In fact, the researchers found air pollution particles present in fetuses developing lungs and other vital organs.

The team specifically studied nanoparticles known as black carbon. Black carbon is a soot-like black material that enters the air from coal-fired power plants, internal combustion engines, and other means of burning fossil fuels. These nanoparticles are known to be a significant component of particular matter (PM)– an air pollutant.

And the researchers found that fetuses and their placentas are exposed to black carbon nanoparticles at a rate that is proportionate to their mother’s exposure.

Even more frightening, the team concluded that the air pollutants could cross through the placenta and enter the fetus as early as the first trimester. At this stage, black carbon can interfere with the development of vital organs– including the brain, lungs, and liver.

Researchers at Hasselt University had previously found that black carbon nanoparticles could enter the placenta. Until now, though, there was no conclusive evidence that the particles were then able to enter the fetus.

“We all worried that if nanoparticles were getting into the fetus, then they might be directly affecting its development in the womb,” began Professor Fowler of Hasselt University.

“And what is even more worrying is that these black carbon particles also get into the developing human brain. This means that it is possible for these nanoparticles to directly interact with control systems within human fetal organs and cells.”

spaskov – – illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

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