Black Carbon Found in Placentas Study Says

Young happy pregnant woman outdoor autumn day on city background

A new study confirms that black carbon from air pollution reaches the fetal side of the placenta, suggesting major health risks for women and their unborn children.
Black carbon is an air pollutant and by-product of fossil fuel combustion. The minuscule particles come from exhaust fumes, factory smokestacks and other sources, and has widely been proven to be damaging to respiratory health.
Tens of thousands of nanoparticles per cubic millimetre have been found in the placenta of women living in polluted areas. This has been hailed as a plausible explanation for the correlation between living in polluted areas and poor health.
“Our study provides compelling evidence for the presence of black carbon particles originating from air pollution in human placenta,” the study concludes.
Premature births, miscarriages and low birth weights have close connection with the dirty air. This new study recommends the toxicity of particles themselves might be the reason for this, rather than the widely-documented inflammatory effects the particles have on the lungs.
The study involved 10 mothers who had been exposed to high levels of residential black carbon particles against 10 mothers exposed to lower levels. Particles of black carbon had been found on the baby’s side of the placenta, but researchers could not confirm whether this had influenced the infant.
The government announced plans to spend £3.5 billion in an attempted tackle poor air quality, with aims to halve harm to human health from air pollution in the UK by 2030.
> Puza Sarker Snigdha