Pre-eclampsia linked to air pollution exposure

This week sees yet more reports on links between air pollution and health impacts.

A new study published in BMJ Open (run by the British Medical Journal) suggests that exposure to ozone in the first three months of pregnancy could be the cause of as many as five per cent of cases of pre-eclampsia. This is a medical condition involving high blood pressure and presence of protein in the urine during pregnancy that, if not addressed, can lead to life-threatening seizures.

Ozone is one of a number of pollutants associated with traffic fumes (as well as other sources).

The Swedish team which conducted the research into the health impacts of vehicle exhaust studied more than 120,000 pregnancies as part of their study.  They concluded that “increased levels of O3 during the first trimester increased the risk of pre-eclampsia and preterm birth. Air pollutants did not exhibit any effects on fetal growth restriction. We estimated 1 in every 20 cases of pre-eclampsia to be associated with O3 exposure.”

We at the Healthy Air Campaign believe the health effects of air pollution are under-recognised, and that the UK government is failing to address the problem and protect people. You can help us by signing up to show your support. Or you can read more about the effects of pollution on children.

photo: aniciabarefoot

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