Air pollution may cause permanent damage to your child's brain

Babies’ brains at risk from toxic pollution UN

The report entitled Danger in the Air: How air pollution can affect brain development in young children also notes that breathing in particulate air pollution can damage brain tissue and undermine cognitive development - with lifelong implications and setbacks.

"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.

Even as the National Capital and adjoining regions are grappling smog and air pollution for over a month now, the issue has been raised at the highest global level as United Nations worldwide Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has taken a serious view of the situation.

Babies in South Asia are worst affected, with more than 12 million living in areas with pollution six times higher than safe levels.

UNICEF researchers add that the first 1,000 days of a child's life are critical to their long-term development and must be protected from hazards that threaten their physical and mental health.

· A young child's brain is especially vulnerable because it can be damaged by a smaller dosage of toxic chemicals, compared to an adult's brain.

The report finds a possible link between prenatal exposures and delayed development of an infant's brain, along with psychological and behavioural problems that may occur later in childhood.

"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".

Report says this can effect on health disastrously.

This is according to a report by the United Nations children's agency. "These neural connections shape a child's optimal thinking, learning, health, memory, linguistic and motor skills".

The global limits relating to air pollution are set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Pollutants inhaled by pregnant women may pass through the placenta and disturb the development of the brain of the foetus.

Rees believes that smart urban planning - including affordable access to public transport, parks and green spaces for children, and better waste management to prevent open-air burning - will help bring pollution levels down.

"The vast number of babies living in highly polluted areas of our world, combined with the emerging evidence presented in this new paper, provides an urgent wake-up call to take action against pollutants".

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