If a pregnant woman lives in an area with heavily polluted air, this can cause her to miscarry already in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. This conclusion was made by scientists who studied 250 thousand Chinese women, TASS reported referring to Nature Sustainability.
Particles of soot and dust in the air are an everyday problem of many cities around the world - both large and small. According to WHO, millions of deaths worldwide are associated with air pollution every year. Very small particles can penetrate not only the lungs and blood, but also the placenta - an organ that is very well protected from the ingestion of anything from the outside. Therefore, air pollution can affect the health of not only adults, but also not yet born.
To learn more about how this can affect future children, Chinese scientists analyzed medical records for more than 255,000 Beijing residents and compared them with the level of air pollution in the areas where they live. They tracked how much air contains suspended particles of at least 2.5 microns in size, as well as harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide.
As a result, it turned out that 6.8% of the pregnant women participating in the study (i.e. more than 17 thousand people) had miscarriages. Statistical analysis showed that there is a reliable association between air pollution and the risk of miscarriage. For example, if the air contains at least 10 μg / m3 of sulfur dioxide - gas that enters the atmosphere as a result of the operation of power plants and from exhaust gases, then the risk of miscarriage increases by 41%. A further increase in the concentration of pollutants increased the likelihood of losing a child by 52%. At the same time, such a risk is higher for women over 39 years of age, as well as for workers or those who are engaged in agriculture, that is, those who spend a lot of time outdoors.
So far, scientists have found out only the fact of communication, they have not yet dealt with the mechanism that causes a miscarriage. This is a matter of future research. The authors of the work also hope that their results will attract the attention of the PRC authorities, which may affect the amount of harmful emissions into the environment.
In recent years, China and India occupy the first places in the number of deaths associated with air pollution - for example, in 2017 it was about 850 thousand and 670 thousand people, respectively. In Russia, this number has been declining in recent years, but, nevertheless, has been holding onto a high level - about 120 thousand people a year.