techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com January 24, 2018


17 million babies breathing toxic air worldwide

06 December 2017, 07:20 | Silvia Roy

A Unicef report states that toxic air severely affects children's brain development and may cause a permanent damage to their brains. The reports came during the time when India, especially Delhi, the capital of the nation is already on the top list regarding pollution.

Almost 17 million babies under the age of one are living in places where air pollution is "at least six times higher" than worldwide limits, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

"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.

Air pollution is closely associated with asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory infections, it said.

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Pollutants inhaled by pregnant women may pass through the placenta and disturb the development of the brain of the foetus.

Its report said there is a link to verbal and non-verbal IQ and memory, reduced test scores, grade point averages among school children, as well as other neurological behavioural problems.

There are 136 million children under the age of 1 globally, which means one in eight are being exposed to toxic air, the United Nations children's fund said.

The paper shows that air pollution, like inadequate nutrition and stimulation, and exposure to violence during the critical first 1,000 days of life, can affect the development of their growing brains.

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The World Health Organization describes air pollution as a "major environmental risk to health". "But this growing body of research does provide an indication of the scale of harm", said the UNICEF.

The author of the "Danger In The Air" report, Nicholas Rees, told AFP that toxic pollution is "impacting children's learning, their memories, linguistic and motor skills".

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 worldwide level as United Nations global Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has taken a serious view of the situation.

The air pollution level has been consistently 10 points above the safe zone.

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"A lot of focus goes on making sure children have good quality education, but also important is the development of the brain itself", he added.



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