Pregnant women exposed to moderate amounts of several common air pollutants have babies with lower birthweights than do women in areas with cleaner air, according to a new study.
Newborns with low birthweights face an increased risk of lifelong health problems. Previous studies searching for a link between air pollution and birthweight had yielded mixed results.
Now, in one of the largest studies of this kind, scientists at Yale University looked at records of 358,504 births in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The team found that four types of air pollution correlate with low birthweight. The culprits are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and two classes of airborne particles: those smaller than 10 and smaller than 2.5 micrometers (designated PM2.5).