Pollution Permanently Damaging Kids’ Lungs, Lowering IQ: UNICEF

A child’s brain is especially vulnerable because it can be damaged by a smaller dose of toxic chemicals, said UNICEF

Updated06 Dec 2017, 04:59 AM IST
Health News
2 min read

Pollution can permanently damage children’s lungs, along with affecting the brain and lowering intelligence, a UNICEF report said on Tuesday, 5 December. The report, which states that children’s IQ and memory is affected by pollution, sampled 17 million babies worldwide. It included regions where the pollution levels are six times higher than international safe limits.

The report further stated that globally 17 million babies live in highly polluted areas. While South Asia is home to 12.2 million of them, another 4.3 million babies live in East Asia and Pacific.

A young child’s brain is especially vulnerable because it can be damaged by a smaller dose of toxic chemicals compared to an adult’s brain. Children are also highly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe more rapidly and also because their physical defences and immunities are not fully developed.

Another UNICEF report from 2016 had earlier stated that about a third of the 2 billion children in the world, who were breathing toxic, air lived in northern India and neighboring countries, risking serious health effects including damage to their lungs, brains and other organs.

Of that global total, 300 million kids were exposed to pollution levels more than six times higher than standards set by the World Health Organization, including 220 million in South Asia.

For the Indian capital, the alarming numbers are hardly a surprise. New Delhi's air pollution, among the world's worst, spikes every winter because of the season's weak winds and countless garbage fires set alight to help people stay warm. Additionally, according to research, pollution has resulted in the lungs of one in every three Delhi children being compromised, with the rising levels affecting foetuses too.

(Breathe In, Breathe Out: Are you finding it tough to breathe polluted air? Join hands with FIT to find #PollutionKaSolution. Send in your suggestions to fit@thequint.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335)

(With media inputs.)

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Published: 06 Dec 2017, 04:46 AM IST

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