Air pollution can reach the womb, research says
Tiny particles of soot breathed in by pregnant women have been found in the womb, where they can harm the growing baby, research shows.
Air pollution has long been linked to a lower birth weight, higher infant mortality and childhood respiratory problems such as asthma.
Now a study, carried out after women gave birth, has found soot particles in the placenta.
This raises the possibility that the poisonous black particles could reach the foetus, the authors said. The research, by a team from Queen Mary University of London, was presented to the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Paris yesterday.
Researcher Dr Norrice Liu said: ‘Our results provide the first evidence that inhaled pollution particles can move from the lungs into the circulation and then to the placenta.
‘We do not know whether the particles we found could also move across into the foetus, but our evidence suggests that this is indeed possible.’