Mon December 11, 2017
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

World

AFP
December 7, 2017

Share

Advertisement

Babies’ brains at risk from toxic pollution: UN

Babies’ brains at risk from toxic pollution: UN

NEW DELHI: As New Delhi and other major cities hit new toxic smog peaks, the United Nations sounded the alarm on Wednesday over the damage that pollution is doing to babies’ developing brains.


The UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, said Asia accounts for more than 16 million of the world’s 17 million infants aged under one year living in areas with severe pollution -- at least six times more than safe levels.


India topped the list of countries with babies at risk, followed by China, Unicef said in a report. Satellite imagery used to assess pollution levels around the world found that South Asian countries accounted for 12.2 million of the total number of affected children but that there is also a growing problem in African cities.


Air pollution has already been linked to asthma, bronchitis, and other long-term respiratory diseases. "But a growing body of scientific research points to a potential new risk that air pollution poses to children’s lives and futures: its impact on their developing brains," Unicef said.


The report highlighted links found between pollution and brain functions "including verbal and nonverbal IQ and memory, reduced test scores, grade point averages among school children, as well as other neurological behavioural problems." "As more and more of the world urbanises, and without adequate protection and pollution reduction measures, more children will be at risk in the years to come."


The ultra-fine particles in city pollution can damage the blood-brain barrier -- a delicate membrane that protects the brain from toxic substances. Damage to the membrane has been linked to Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease in the elderly.


Unicef also highlighted the growing risk from minute particles of the iron ore magnetite which is increasingly found in urban pollution. The nano-particles, which easily get into the blood stream, are highly dangerous to the brain because of their magnetic charge and have also been linked to degenerative diseases.


The author of the "Danger In The Air" report, Nicholas Rees, told AFP that toxic pollution is "impacting children’s learning, their memories, linguistic and motor skills."


Delhi closed schools in early November after doctors declared a public health emergency, but quickly reopened them -- provoking anger from parents who accused authorities of "playing with children’s health". In China, where air pollution has cut life expectancy in the industrial north by three years, the government has imposed production curbs on industry to counter a smog crisis that rivals India’s -- but progress has been patchy.

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar

Advertisement