Air pollution may cause permanent damage to your child's brain


The East Asia and Pacific region is home to some 4.3 million babies living in areas with pollution levels at least six times higher than worldwide limits.

"As more and more of the world urbanises, and without adequate protection and pollution reduction measures, more children will be at risk in the years to come".

"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 fine particles of urban pollution can damage the blood-brain barrier, the membrane that protects the brain from toxic substances, exacerbating the risk of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease in the elderly.

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

Air pollution has already been linked to asthma, bronchitis, and other long-term respiratory diseases.

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The executive Director of UNICEF, Mr Anthony Lakes, gave out a statement which states that it is not just the developing lungs of babies that are harmed by Pollutants, even damage of developing brains could happen because of pollutants. New Delhi's statistics recorded the air pollution was 16 times more than the national standard and 40 times higher than the prescribed standard by the World Health Organization.

One study reports a four-point drop in IQ by the age of 5 among a sample of children exposed in utero to toxic air pollution, it said. "It also benefits their societies - realized in reduced health care costs, increased productivity and a safer, cleaner environment for everyone", he stressed.

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

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. This includes the prevention and treatment of pneumonia, as well as the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and good nutrition. Exposure to air pollution during this time can therefore impact development, the report states.

"No child should have to breathe dangerously polluted air - and no society can afford to ignore air pollution", Lake concluded. The result of same has deteriorated lungs of many children in Delhi and the pollution levels are affecting fetuses too.