Birth defects in infants linked to air pollution exposure among mothers

A study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, examines the effect of exposure to air pollution and birth defects in infants.

Researchers collected birth certificate data from the Ohio Department of Health and particulate matter data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 57 monitoring stations throughout Ohio. They studied the data to determine the connection between birth defects and the mother's exposure to increased levels of fine particulate matter in the air during pregnancy.

Fine particulate matter is a health hazard because the particles can deposit deep into the lower airways and air sacs within the lungs and enter the circulatory system.

The study shows that women who were exposed to air pollution just before conception or during the first month of pregnancy were more likely to have children born with abnormalities, such as cleft lip or palate.

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