A slew of recent studies reiterate the fact that air pollution not only causes respiratory problems, but can also affect the brain development of children, including those in their mother’s womb. A study published in the journal ‘Pediatrics’ shows a clear association between mothers’ exposure to high levels of environmental pollutants during pregnancy to a four-point drop in children’s IQ scores by the age of five.
Dr. Parag Khatavkar, senior consultant and pulmonologist at KEM Hospital, Pune, said, “Air pollution is one such health hazard which silently enters our body and incapacitates us from inside. Even indoor air quality is equally or more dangerous than outdoor air pollution. Since we spend more time indoors, naturally the risk associated with indoor air pollution is more. Burning incense sticks could increase the concentration of particulate matter (PM) by about 15 times more than permitted levels.”
A new report published in the journal ‘Environmental Health Perspectives’ found that the presence of some toxic chemicals in the environment can interfere with normal hormone activity. The disruptive thyroid hormone in pregnant women can interfere with the healthy brain development of the fetus. Indoor plants, proper ventilation, clean floors and surfaces and air purifiers can be very effective in reducing levels of airborne pollutants in the environment.