Health Care

Air pollution, smog may permanently damage children's brain, warns UNICEF report

Air pollution, smog may permanently damage children's brain, warns UNICEF report

According to a new UNICEF paper, 17 million babies in the world breathe toxic air. With 136 million children under the age of one globally, that equates to about one in eight worldwide.

The paper outlines urgent steps to reduce the impact of air pollution on babies' growing brains, including immediate actions for parents to decrease children's exposure at home to harmful fumes produced by tobacco products, cook stoves and heating fires. The variety of types of pollutants that are in the air across different environments make it hard to determine the full impact of air pollution.

The World Health Organization recommends that the level of pollutants in the air not exceed 20 micrograms per cubic meter (.02 parts per million). Air pollution has known links to asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. This can have devastating health effects, including potentially putting their brain development at risk.

"But a growing body of scientific research shows a new potential risk posed by air pollution to the lives and futures of children: its impact on their developing brains", now says Unicef.

A young child's brain is vulnerable: by a smaller dosage of toxic chemicals, as compared to an adult's; as they breathe more rapidly; and because their physical defences and immunities are not fully developed.

Several Democratic senators to Al Franken: Resign
He's repeatedly promised to "cooperate completely" with any investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee into his past behavior. For his part, Franken has apologized for the earlier incidents, but has shown no signs of plans to give up his seat.

Damage to early brain development can result in lifelong setbacks.

It also urged public authorities to invest in cleaner, renewable energy, and to make it feasible for children to travel at times of day when pollution is lower, as well as to make sure major sources of pollution are not located near schools, clinics or hospitals.

"No child should have to breathe dangerously polluted air", Lake said, "and no society can afford to ignore air pollution". A further four million are at risk in East Asia and the Pacific.

The united Nations is calling on governments to intensify the fight against pollution as well as to strengthen the protection of children, including through the use of facial masks and filtration systems of the air.

UNICEF urged more efforts to cut pollution, and also to reduce children's exposure to the poisonous smog which has frequently reached hazardous levels in Indian cities in recent weeks.