Air pollution killed almost 500,000 newborns in 2019

Air Pollution
Air pollution affects your child’s lungs both before and after birth. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
A new global study shows that air pollution killed 476,000 newborns in 2019. According to a report by New Straits Times.

This making it the largest hotspot in India and sub-Saharan Africa. The study stated that nearly two-thirds of deaths were caused by toxic fumes from cooking fuel.

More than 116,000 Indian babies died from air pollution in the first month after birth, compared with 236,000 in sub-Saharan Africa. According to The State of the Global Air 2020.

These estimates are derived from the US-based Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project.

The authors write that they rely on increasing evidence to link mothers’ exposure to air pollution during pregnancy. That associate with an increased risk of babies being born too small (low weight) or prematurely (premature birth).

These conditions are related to severe complications. These have accounted for the vast majority of neonatal deaths in the two regions.

The new analysis estimates how many percent of these deaths are due to environmental and household air pollution.

Dan Greenbaum, President of HEI, said:

“An infant’s health is critical to the future of every society, and this newest evidence suggests an especially high risk for infants born in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Although there has been slow and steady reduction in household reliance on poor-quality fuels, the air pollution from these fuels continues to be a key factor in the deaths of these youngest infants.”

Overall, the report found that global air pollution caused 6.7 million deaths in 2019. It is the fourth leading cause of death after high blood pressure, tobacco use and dietary risks.

The author added that although the Covid-19 pandemic has caused huge social and personal losses. “Many countries around the world have experienced blue skies and starry nights, often for the first time in many years”. However, these gains Is short-lived.

It said: “Nonetheless, the blue skies have offered a reminder of what pollution takes away.”

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