Underweight Babies Linked to Air Pollution

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&search_tracking_id=6049FC42-7180-11E2-B5E8-EF489EA4A24C&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=woman+gas+mask&search_group=&orient=&search_cat=&searchtermx=&photographer_name=&people_gender=&people_age=&people_ethnicity=&people_number=&commercial_ok=&color=&show_color_wheel=1#id=85257283&src=8CB15FE6-7180-11E2-BA76-8AF8ACE6966E-1-13">Iakov Filimonov</a>/Shutterstock

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Women who are exposed to air pollution generated by cars, power plants, and heating and cooling systems are more likely to have a baby that is born underweight, according to new research published this week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Low birth weight—defined as anything below 5.5 pounds—is linked to negative outcomes for babies, including increased mortality, chronic health problems, and stunted mental and physical development. The study, which is billed as the largest survey to date, looked at birth weight data on 3 million births recorded at 14 sites in nine different countries (across North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia). Researchers analyzed ambient air quality data for the area during the woman’s pregnancy. They found that in the places places they studied, “the higher the pollution rate, the greater the rate of low birth weight.”

And, as one of the lead researchers noted in a statement, they saw effects even if there weren’t crazy high levels of air pollution. “What’s significant is that these are air pollution levels to which practically everyone in the world is commonly exposed,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California in San Francisco. “These microscopic particles, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, are in the air that we all breathe.” 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate