Air Pollution Risks Lifelong Harm to Babies

Air pollution risks may last a lifetime and are “especially dangerous for infants and children younger than 3 years of age as their organs are still developing”, said Li Pu, a senior consultant at new Century International Children’s Hospital, the private arm of Beijing’s Children’s Hospital.  At that hospital, “sick children and their parents began queuing before 6 a.m. on Jan. 31 after pollution reached ‘hazardous levels’ for a fifth straight day.  Within 30 minutes of the 8 a.m. opening of the hospital’s respiratory and ear, nose and throat clinics, 80 percent of the 137 [appointments] available were taken.”  Dr. Li is “finding evidence of the cumulative toxic effect that pollution is having on children”, even if they are only exposed for a short period.  Lifelong lung damage, behavioral changes and heart disease are among the problems found.  Researchers at Columbia University studying clogged air and pregnancy in New York found pollution reduced intelligence and increased the risk of behavioral problems when babies reached school-age. (Read article here)