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Earth Science

Air Pollution Harm To Unborn Babies May Be Global Health Catastrophe, Warn Doctors (theguardian.com) 132

Air pollution significantly increases the risk of low birth weight in babies, leading to lifelong damage to health, according to a large new study. From a report: The research was conducted in London, UK, but its implications for many millions of women in cities around the world with far worse air pollution are "something approaching a public health catastrophe," the doctors involved said. Globally, two billion children -- 90% of all children -- are exposed to air pollution above World Health Organization guidelines. A Unicef study also published on Wednesday found that 17 million babies suffer air six times more toxic than the guidelines. The team said that there are no reliable ways for women in cities to avoid chronic exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and called for urgent action from governments to cut pollution from vehicles and other sources.

Air Pollution Harm To Unborn Babies May Be Global Health Catastrophe, Warn Doctors

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it wasn't this it would be something else. The realities that we've over procreated and are in the process of wrecking our planet like a runaway viral infection will catch up with us one way or another. People should have fewer babies, period. And if they don't, then this is what happens, and I have no fucking sympathy that they cannot overcome their biological imperative.
    • Most Western countries, where a good fraction of such pollution is still produced, is in a general demographic decline. Population increases, which will level out, cannot be the only explanation for this.

      • Population increases, which will level out, cannot be the only explanation for this.

        Actually, population decrease is a major cause. As birthrates fall, adults have more time to work, and less money is spent on education and other childhood expenses. This means that more resources can be channeled into industrialization and economic growth. This is known as a "demographic dividend".

        China implemented their one-child policy 38 years ago, when China and India had similar GDPs and produced similar amounts of pollution. China's population growth slowed dramatically, and has started to decl

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's not an "unborn baby", it's a "choice".

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      > It's not an "unborn baby", it's a "choice".

      Too true. They only care about the fetus when it suits their particular narrative du jour. Tomorrow proto-humans will just be fodder for the garbage cans again.

  • A catastrophe? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @12:52PM (#55688993)

    If it were truly a catastrophe, there should be many large cities where whole generations should have perished. In the US, prior to EPA reforms, many cities had far worse air pollution, yet the maternity wards in their hospitals weren't empty.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Another week another alarmist The Guardian "The world is ending!" article. It's what they do.

    • infant mortality has been dropping for the last century. I don't think you understand what real poverty is like. We've sort of forgot because a) the War on Poverty did and continues to do a lot and b) what we couldn't eliminate we moved to China, Mexico and India. Yes, we've mostly cleaned the air here, but in large parts of China, India and some of Mexico it's as bad as it was in the 20s here.

      Also even before the EPA was founded there was work being done to clean up the air. Especially in the 30s-60s b
    • If it were truly a catastrophe, there should be many large cities where whole generations should have perished.

      You don't need to outright kill a population for it to be a catastrophe. Heck it would probably be a preferred outcome over disabling them or inflicting chronic illnesses on them instead.

    • Since then, we've gotten used to children almost always growing up to become adults. High infant mortality rates are now generally considered bad.

      If you'd rather go back to the time when the average family had four kids growing up to get some reasonable assurance of two surviving, well, I wouldn't rather do that.

  • Total malarkey (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The air has never been cleaner. 50 years ago there were noxious fuming automobiles and trucks. Factories spewed coal black smoke into the hazy gray skies. Half the population puffed on cigars and cigarettes, indoors, outdoors, even on airplanes, and in other public places -- even elevators. At least in America the problem has been solved.

    So what if China doesn't care. That's their right. It's their country.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      We just offshored all the manufacturing industries to China and closed them down in the USA and Europe. Problem solved.

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      You seem to be ignoring air pollution crises that exist today in London, Delhi, Bejing as well as these US cities:
      Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA.
      Bakersfield, CA.
      Fresno-Madera, CA.
      Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, CA.
      Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ.
      Modesto-Merced, CA.
      San Diego-Carlsbad, CA.
      Sacramento-Roseville, CA.

  • That babies born to mother's exposed to air pollution are smaller, but their just as healthy are the other babies. And some women might want a smaller baby.

    Let me know if anyone gets the reference.
  • If humans coming out of this environment and are somewhat handicapped, they may be less critical, having to deal with their own issues.
    And - does anyone think about fixing it - just look at the current power structure and what the priorities there are.. In particular, a retard on top...

  • For reference, what would be the WHO measurement of sitting around a campfire and occasionally being directly in the smoke for 5% of the day? I imagine most children who were ever born were raised in a situation similar to this (or better yet raised in a shelter with open fire and burning candles for most of the night). Kind of like sodium intake before the invention of refrigeration - what was that average?
  • Is it really so bad (Score:4, Informative)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @03:12PM (#55690299) Homepage

    I keep wondering when I read things like this: is it really so much worse than it was in the 1970s? OK, some places where economic growth has exploded recently may be much much dirtier now than they were then. But I went to London a few times in the late 1980s, and back then the city stank of exhaust fumes. Nowadays that is not the case anymore. I live in the Netherlands and I saw the big rivers getting cleaner, sensitive animals like salmon and beaver being reintroduced successfully, and the air in Amsterdam definitely improved. So I wonder: how come we hear more and more warnings like this? I can think of a few causes: fearmongery, increased knowledge about the impact of exhaust gases on your health, or maybe the planet as a whole really got a lot dirtier. But what is it really?

    • by esonik ( 222874 )

      Is that relevant - how it is today compared to some previous time?
      Fact is that within London the study has measured a significant correlation of air pollution to low birth weight - meaning: even in today's London there's room for improvement.
      If we can improve the lives of people shouldn't we try to?

      • by tsa ( 15680 )

        Of course we should, but that is beside the point I try to make here. I have the impression that thanks to all kind of legislation a lot of improvement of the environment has been achieved during the last forty years, at least in my part of the world. And still we get more and more quite specific warnings: not the ones we got in the 1970s ("If we go on like this the planet will be doomed!") but more warnings about specific kinds of pollution, be it CO2 or fine particles or NOx. So I'd like to know what the

  • "Unborn Babies" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    No such thing, they're just disposable discardable spare-parts "fetuses". Right?

    • You start creating something as an act of creation or love or something. You work hard on it, and risk your health, and go through a lot of inconvenience. You may or may not be able to start all over. Then, depending on the pollution level, someone will generate a random number to see if the pollution proxies come in and smash what you've been working on to pieces.

  • India & China (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuadEddie ( 459328 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @03:53PM (#55690537)
    In the past year, Iâ(TM)ve read stories about while towns in China getting cancer due to pollution, toxic foam floating around in India, and serious birth defects in humans and animals in both of those countries. The problem is orders of magnitude larger there than in the US. Because of this, China and India are great test beds for human evolution because those are the places with the highest levels of environmental pressures. We could see species adaptions there that donâ(TM)t exist anywhere else.
    • We could see species adaptions there that don't exist anywhere else.

      So, once we pollute the environment we have to keep doing it or risk a population failure?

      I'm only half serious. If we have humans that evolve to thrive in an environment laced with steroids in the water, antibiotics in the meat, and ammonia in the air and then later take that all away then we might have people getting sick from diseases that would normally have been killed off before.

      I remember my sister telling me about places that began fertilizing crops with human sewage seeing a reduction in cases of

    • We could see species adaptions there that donâ(TM)t exist anywhere else.

      Just what we need. The first superhuman turns out to be a supervillain with the powers to telemarket to everyone at the same time.

  • I mean the pollution is something that we know exists. In cases these doctors discuss the pollution is in fact so bad that one can see its undesirable effects on oneself which for any reasonable individual would mean to move away at least for pregnancy or avoid pregnancy in the first place. I agree avoiding pollution may not be within the reach of people but condoms should be. We try hard to get pollution in already relatively clean western cities down whereas the actual problem is overpopulation elsewhere.
  • Or is the current tendency to coddle kids in cotton batting, never letting them run free outside and play un-supervised that is causing atrophied kids. Or maybe it's the trend to city living in more and more cramped un-natural environments. Or maybe it's just the trend to spending more time inside, where the air is much less healthy than even outdoor city air. Or maybe it's the trend to feeding them more over-procssed factory-supermarket junk masquerading as food because after working multiple jobs the par

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