An environmental health study finds compelling evidence that links global climate change and air pollution to serious pregnancy threats : preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth in the United States.
The current climate crisis threatens many critical resources including sustainable food and water supplies and longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater supplies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified the global warming as “one of the greatest risks to human health.“
“Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time,” confirmed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists position statement recognizes also that “climate change is an urgent women’s health concern as well as a major public health challenge.”
An american review, published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA NETWORK, analyzed 68 U.S. studies, dating back to 2007, to investigate prenatal exposure to fine particles (PM2,5), ozone, and heat, and the association of these factors with preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.
So, more than 32 million births were analyzed and the review showed a significant association of air pollutant and heat exposure with birth outcomes. Positive associations were found across all US geographic regions. Exposure to fine particles PM2,5 or ozone was clearly associated with increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.
The highest identified risks were preterm birth and low birth weight, which could actually increase a child’s risk for future health and developmental problems.
The subpopulations at highest risk were persons with asthma and minority groups, especially black mothers.
“The more you dig, you could really say there’s a whole generation of children being born like ‘pre-polluted’,” said the senior author of the review, Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola, obstetrician/gynecologist, and Environmental Health Expert for ACOG.