Recent studies show just how dangerous is air pollution to pregnant women and their babies. Scientists link several cases of birth defects and even death of babies during pregnancy to a particulate matter present in the air we breathe: ammonium sulfate.
A team of scientists at Texas A&M University as well as the University of California-San Diego investigated the impact of air pollution on female rats and concluded that humans might also be affected in a similar way. The study shows that ammonium sulfate, which is found in high concentration in the atmosphere in areas from Asia and U.S. such as Houston and Los Angeles is damaging to human pregnancy.
How does ammonium sulfate affect pregnant women?
Researchers state that although ammonium sulfate is not generally considered to be extremely toxic, worrying results of the study show just how harmful it is for female pregnant rats. Although the cause of the effects is still yet to be identified, the hypothesis concerning this suggests that they might be caused by the size of nanoparticles or the acidity.
This harmful substance is released in the air through burning coal or other agricultural, automobile or even animal emissions. The study shows that the air pollution caused a decrease in the number of survival of fetuses, shortened pregnancy rates that are also associated with smaller body weight, conditions developed in the brain, hearts or other vital organs of the animals analyzed.
About 90% of the population lives in areas with a high level of pollutants
Specialists say that the current situation is alarming, considering that 90% of the people are living in areas where a high level of pollutants is reported, including ammonium sulfate which is referred to as “a major problem worldwide”.
Approximatively 7 million premature deaths per year are linked to air pollution, and further reports in this concern show that roughly 33% of the U.S. population is breathing highly polluted air.
Researchers point to the fact that, at this stage, there is no prevention or treatment measure for pollution-related conditions suggested. However, their study provides valuable information that can further be used in identifying how to reduce or prevent the effects of air pollution.