Air pollution can damage a child's brain forever

Air pollution can damage a child's brain forever

Research has also proven that there is a link between prenatal exposures to high levels of air pollution and even delays the development of kids, as well as affect the psychological and behavioural problems later during their childhood, which include symptoms of attention that deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression.

Satellite imagery reveals that South Asia has the largest proportion of babies living in the worst-affected areas, with 12.2 million babies residing where outdoor air pollution exceeds six times worldwide limits set by the World Health Organization.

"But a growing body of scientific research shows a new potential risk posed by air pollution to the lives and futures of children: its impact on their developing brains ", now says Unicef.

The United Nations report was titled as "Danger in the air", that states that brain damage can happen through several mechanisms.

The World Health Organization describes air pollution as a "major environmental risk to health". "These neural connections shape a child's optimal thinking, learning, health, memory, linguistic and motor skills".

Unicef reports says that these ultrafine particulates such as PM2.5 which easily enter the bloodstream, then travel to the brain which damages the blood-brain barrier, a very thin membrane in the brain that protects it from the toxic substances entering the brain.

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When there is an exposure of a pregnant women to pollutants, it harms them a lot. "We see effects in London that are below the legal limit, so it is concerning when you realize how many children are exposed to that" in South Asia.

The paper urges parents to take steps to reduce children's exposure to harmful chemicals, including from tobacco products and cooking stoves.

With damage to brain tissue, the cognitive development of children is affected.

The report also recommended that countries invest in cleaner energy and replace fossil fuel, provide affordable access to public transport, increase green spaces in urban areas, and provide better waste management options to prevent open burning of harmful chemicals. The study used satellite images to investigate which regions were worst affected by air pollution - in terms of air pollution's affect on children under one year of age.

"The vast number of babies living in highly polluted areas of our world, combined with the emerging evidence presented in this new paper, provides an urgent wake-up call to take action against pollutants".