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Air Pollution May Lead to Smaller Babies
Study: Exposure Affects Growth of Fetus
March 2009
Exposure to air pollution both early and late in pregnancy may have a negative impact on fetal growth, a new study shows. Air pollution, especially pollution from car exhaust, was linked to smaller birth weight even after researchers controlled for known risk factors.
Air Pollution and Pregnancy
Dr. Rich and colleagues examined birth certificates and hospital discharge records for nearly 336,000 babies born full-term in New Jersey between 1999 and 2003. They then matched the birth information to air quality monitoring conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Data from monitoring points within 6 miles of the mothers’ homes were used to estimate the level of exposure to specific air pollutants early in the first, second, and third pregnancy trimesters.
Babies born to mothers who were younger, less well educated, lower income, African-American, single parents, or smokers had a higher risk for having a low birth weight for their gestational age.
But even after controlling for these risk factors, increased exposure to air pollutants was associated with an increased risk for delivering a smaller baby.
Heavy exposure to the traffic exhaust pollutant nitrogen dioxide during all three trimesters was linked to an increased risk for restricted fetal growth. The researchers reported that risk of a baby being born very small for gestational age rose significantly with each 10 parts per billion increase in nitrogen dioxide exposure.
Larger Studies Needed
It has been suggested that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy might alter cell activity or restrict oxygen and nutrient intake by the fetus.
Maternal smoking is a well-established risk factor for poor birth outcomes, including low birth weight. March of Dimes deputy medical director Diane Ashton, MD, MPH, tells WebMD that many of the same chemicals found in cigarette smoke are found in air pollution.
“It certainly makes sense that exposure to these chemicals in air pollution can impact pregnancy outcomes,” she says. “We definitely need larger studies to help us figure this out.”
Recruitment is under way for the largest-ever prospective study in the United States to examine the effect of environmental influences like air pollution on birth outcomes and children’s health. The goal of the National Children’s Study is to follow 100,000 children nationwide from conception to young adulthood.
Dr. Iverson's Comment
Are you kidding me?! What does it take? Really, does it take another 100,000 children with low birth weight from pollution before they are able to make a definitive answer on the clearly obvious subject? 
This is one of the absurdities of the Western world that is so overly dependent on scientific research. Do we really have to prove something a couple dozen times and then ask permission by a federal agency if what we have just proved can be recognized by our government? What happened to our common sense? Seems that we traded that in for bureaucratic medical systems that are deciding what is really healthy for us. Remember, these are the same people that are deciding that our over fatted and sugared school lunches are healthy for our kids and that fast food and soda pops and artificial flavors and sweeteners are all safe as well.   Do you want to wait on the government to tell you it isn’t safe to be breathing exhaust fumes? NO WAY!!!
What to do? This is particularly difficult because it is a global epidemic. We see this trend where there are more financial hardships. This means more poverty equals more pollution and less money to care for these conditions. 
If you are someone who is pregnant or you have a little child, very obviously keep yourself and them away from smoke of all types. If you are pregnant or with your child outside, do not walk on a hot day. It is best to be outdoors early in the morning or late at night when the dew has lowered the pollutants in the air. It is also advisable to walk after a rain storm. This would also be a good time to open the windows in the house since the rain has cleared the air.
The home can be a source of toxic pollution as well. If you can afford an air purifier, by all means get one that has multiple levels of detoxification including HEPA and CARBON filters. Call our clinic for information about our highly researched and extremely affordable HEPA filters we have available for purchase. 
A healthy body has mechanisms to eliminate these toxins if it is given the right nutrition. Glutathione is a protein that the liver makes from amino acids and utilizes to detoxify the chemicals naturally. In order to boost natural glutathione levels healthy protein should be eaten several times daily during pregnancy. Women should be advised to avoid processed foods and foods higher in chemicals like artificial colors and flavors. 
Don’t wait for the research to prove that there is something wrong with breathing pollution! Let’s use our common sense and prevent injury before it ever happens
Be well!
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