Polluted air during pregnancy a long-term risk to child's heart health


Polluted air during pregnancy a long-term risk to child's heart health

Exposure to air pollution during the third trimester among pregnant women has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure in their children

Exposure to air pollution during the third trimester among pregnant women has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure in their children

MONDAY, May 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) - Exposure to ambient air pollution in the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with increased risk of elevated blood pressure (BP) among offspring, according to a study published online May 14 in Hypertension.

Those exposed to fine specks of soot spewed out in traffic fumes or from burning oil, coal and wood during the third trimester were 61 percent more likely to have elevated systolic blood pressure. "We know that blood pressure tracks through life".

Past studies have linked high blood pressure in both children and adults with direct exposure to air pollution. A systolic blood pressure was considered elevated if it was in the highest 10 percent for children the same age on national data.

This study involved 1,293 mothers and their children who were part of the Boston Birth Cohort study.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, contributing to the death of an estimated 7.5 million people worldwide each year. "Children who have elevated blood pressure in childhood have a higher probability of having hypertension later in life and cardiovascular diseases", Mueller said.

This provided evidence of the significant impact of in-utero exposure.

"These results reinforce the importance of reducing emissions of PM2.5 in the environment", said Dr. Mueller. But a new study raises a red flag for pregnant women by suggesting that higher levels of air pollution can pose a serious health threat even inside the womb.

Air pollution was measured by looking at the mother's address and readings from the nearest air quality monitoring stations to estimate exposure in each trimester of pregnancy.

The concentrations of PM2.5 in the highest category in this study (11.8 micrograms per cubic meter or higher) were slightly lower than the EPA's National Air Quality Standard (12 micrograms per cubic meter). He holds a B.A.in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "We need regulations to keep our air clean, not only for the health of our planet, but also for the health of our children", said Mueller, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.