Millions of babies are breathing in toxic air, UNICEF report says

Leslie Hanson
December 6, 2017

Excessive air pollution could put brain development at risk.

United Nations International Childrens Education Fund Indias chief of Communication Alexandra Westerbeek said that the crisis of air pollution affects millions of Indian children.

The United Nations report had also stated that it is South Asia which has the largest percentage of babies that are living in areas where the pollution in air is at least around six times higher than the set worldwide limits which happens to be ten micro grams for one cubic metre.

The global limits relating to air pollution are set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The variety of types of pollutants that are in the air across different environments make it hard to determine the full impact of air pollution.

There has been the linking between air pollution and respiratory diseases since forever, but UNICEF claimed in a report which claims that there is a growing body of scientific research stating that air pollution can damage a child's brain that too permanently.

The paper urges parents to take steps to reduce children's exposure to harmful chemicals, including from tobacco products and cooking stoves. It also urged public authorities to invest in cleaner renewable energy and to make it feasible for children to travel at times of day with diminished pollution, as well as to zone major sources of pollution far away from schools, clinics and hospitals.


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".

"Protecting children from air pollution not only benefits children", Lake added. Brain development in the first 1,000 days of a child's life influences how they will learn, grow and become "able to do everything that they want and aspire to in life", he said.

Rees said masks help "but very importantly they have to have good filters and they also have to fit children's faces well". A study reported a four-point drop in the IQ by the age of five when kids aare exposed to air pollution, .

The majority of these babies - more than 12 million - are in South Asia, it said, in a study of children under one-year-old, using satellite imagery to identify worst-affected regions.

The European Environment Agency has found that polluted air kills half a million EU residents per year.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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