Air Pollution Can Reach Foetuses Through Placenta, New Study Indicates

Placenta was previously thought to be impenetrable by pollutants.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 – A new research has discovered that air pollution can enter a mother’s placenta and potentially reach foetuses in the womb, potentially causing future health problems for the child.

CNN reported that according to the research, harmful particles could travel from the lungs to the placenta, and directly reach foetuses, when pregnant women breathe in black carbon pollution caused by fossil fuel combustion, like in diesel-powered cars or coal burning.

The research, published by Hasselt University’s scientists in the Nature Communications journal, investigated 25 non-smoking women who were giving birth in the Belgian city of Hasselt.

Immediately following childbirth, the researchers collected the women’s placentas to study the side facing toward the foetus and found black carbon had accumulated.

The more the women were exposed to black carbon during pregnancy, the more amount of black carbon was found in the placenta.

Black carbon particles come from a range of sources as well as cars and power plants — biomass and coal stoves in households, kerosene lamps, and open burning of farmland for agriculture.

In the past, air pollution has proven to contribute to increased miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights among infants.

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