Particles of air pollution can enter the organs of fetus as it develops in uterus, potentially dangerous development suggests research.
Academics from the university of University of Aberdeen and Hasselt in Belgium found proof of black carbon particles – also known as soot particles – in blood in umbilical cord.
What, in turn, shows they can cross the placenta.
Air pollution has been linked with “pre-term birth, low birth weight babies and disturbed brain development”, the scientists said.
key organ development happens until baby develops in uterus – and particles can be seen during first trimester of pregnancy, the researchers warn.
During their study, they examined 60 mothers and their babies. in Aberdeen and Grampian region in Scotland.
They are also analyzed tissue samples from 36 fetuses aborted between 7 and 20 weeks. of pregnancy.
Soot particles present in to all mothers and newborns – and in liver, lungs and brain of aborted fetuses.
All analyzed tissue samples contained black carbon particles.
black carbon one of many particles and gases are emitted when diesel, coal and other biomass fuels are burned.
Number of particles found depends on in amount of air pollution mother exposed during pregnancy.
They say it’s first the time when black carbon nanoparticles were found in developing fruits.
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Writing in In the Lancet Planetary Health, the authors of the study wrote: “We found that maternally inhaled carbon dioxide air pollution particles can cross the placenta and then travel to the organs of the human fetus during pregnancy.
“These results are particularly troubling because this window of exposition key organ development.”
Professor Tim Navrot of Hasselt University said: “We know that exposure air pollution during pregnancy and infancy has been linked with stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight and disturbed brain development, with effects that persist throughout life.
“It means that air quality regulation should recognize this transfer during pregnancy and take steps to protect the most susceptible stages of human development.”
Professor Paul Fowler from the University of aberdeen, added: “We were all worried that if the nanoparticles got into the fetus, they could be directly affecting him development in uterus.
“What we have shown for in first time it black carbon air nanoparticles of pollution not only get into first as well as second trimester of the placenta, but then also find them way to the authorities of the developing fetus, including the liver and lungs.”