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Miscarriage and Pollution

A recent study shows that preventing miscarriage may be yet another reason for going green and treating the planet better. According to research conducted at the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil, women are more likely to miscarry when exposed to particulate matter known as PM10s. Particulate matter includes soot, smoke, dust and dirt. Particulate matter is a large component of air pollution.

The study followed 400 women undergoing IVF treatment in Brazil. Women who conceived in the winter had higher miscarriage rates than women who conceived at other times of the year. In Brazil, the air quality is worse in the wintertime due to increased moisture in the air.

Dr. Paulo Marcelo Perin, who conducted the research said that women who had been exposed to high levels of pollution such as the type created by traffic and industry, had a 2.5 increase in pregnancy loss above the regular population.

A recent American study also linked pregnancy loss to exposure to nitrogen dioxide which is also a pollutant. According to Scorecard.org, a pollution website, nitrogen dioxide is “present in all urban atmospheres.”

Air pollution is not just a concern in the United States and Brazil. In the United Kingdom, air pollution levels are frequently above accepted safe levels. Also, countries like India and China are developing rapidly in the industrial realm. As industry expands, more people than ever before are also driving automobiles which are a main source of air pollution. According to Wikipedia, the cities with the most particulate matter pollution are in Egypt, India, China and Indonesia. Here in the United States cities high in particulate matter include Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Cleveland.

Aside from moving to the country, there may not be too much you can do at this point. Obviously, walking, biking, carpooling or using public transportation can reduce your carbon footprint and in the long run improve air quality. Recycling can help reduce industrial emissions. Many weather reports also now include information about air quality. You could certainly try to stay indoors if poor air quality if forecast in your area. (Although this may not be realistic for many people given the busyness of our lives.)

As with almost any study I've read about, experts say more study is needed.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Christine Beauchaine. All rights reserved.
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