The study stated that fine particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) is a form of air pollution produced by motor vehicles and the burning of oil, coal and biomass. It has been observed that it enters the circulatory system and thus negatively affects health.
For the study,1,293 mothers and their children were examined by researchers. Blood pressure was examined at every childhood physical examination from 3- to 9- years old.
If the exposure to air pollution was high during the third trimester, it had the most adverse effects. It was already known that since the fetal weight gain is very rapid during the third trimester, it resulted in lower birth rates. But this study found the association with elevated blood pressure regardless of the child’s weight.
The study suggests that children exposed to higher levels of air pollution during the third trimester had 61% more chances of having elevated systolic in childhood compared to those who were exposed to the lower levels of air pollution.
Noel T. Mueller who is an Assistant Professor at John Hopkins University and the co-author of the study said, “Ours is one of the first studies to show breathing polluted air during pregnancy may have a direct negative influence on the cardiovascular health of the offspring during childhood.”
Mueller added, “These results reinforce the importance of reducing emissions of PM2.5 in the environment. Not only does exposure increase the risk of illness and death in those directly exposed, but it may also cross the placental barrier in pregnancy and affect fetal growth and increase future risks for high blood pressure.”
H/T: The Quint