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Traffic pollution putting unborn babies' health at risk, warn experts

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Traffic pollution, but not traffic noise, linked to low birth weight

Air pollution from road traffic is having a detrimental impact upon babies’ health in London, before they are born, finds a study.

The findings suggest that exposure to air pollution from road traffic in London during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of low birth weight babies born at full term. But traffic related noise seems to have no effect.

The researchers say their findings are applicable to other UK and European cities and call for environmental health policies to improve air quality in urban areas.

Previous studies have shown associations between air pollution, pregnancy complications and childhood illness, but studies of noise pollution in pregnancy have provided conflicting results.

So a team of London-based researchers led by Imperial College London set out to investigate the relation between exposure to both air and noise pollution from road traffic during pregnancy and two birth weight outcomes – low birth weight (less than 2500 g) and being born small for gestational age.

Continue reading at BMJ

Image via BMJ