Pollution harmful to babies ' brains

India topped the list of countries with babies at risk followed by China

Thus, it is not only the lungs which are most prone to the dangers of toxins and harmful pollutants the child's brain is equally affected. Also the report claimed that in East Asia and the Pacific, there are approximately four point three million babies who are breathing toxic air.

The report said further research was needed to study the full impact of air pollution on children's developing brains.

Babies in South Asia are worst affected, with more than 12 million living in areas with pollution six times higher than safe levels. Delhi's air pollution is now discussed at worldwide level as the air pollution in the capital is worst in the world and in during winters its impact is severe.

Danger in the Air: How air pollution can affect brain development in young children notes that breathing in particulate air pollution can damage brain tissue and undermine cognitive development - with lifelong implications and setbacks.

ยท Ultrafine pollution particles are so small that they can enter the blood stream, travel to the brain, and damage the blood-brain barrier, which can cause neuro-inflammation. Broader suggestions made about "smart urban planning" included absence of coal-plants near schools, clinics, hospitals or anywhere where they can cause harm to children.

It also suggests investing in cleaner, renewable sources of energy to replace fossil fuel combustion; provide affordable access to public transport; increase green spaces in urban areas; and provide better waste management options to prevent open burning of harmful chemicals.

According to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report for 2017, almost 40 percent of the United States' population still lives in counties that have unhealthful levels of air pollution. This includes the prevention and treatment of pneumonia, as well as the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and good nutrition.

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.

The report comes at a time when Delhi and north Indian states are grappling with severe air pollution crisis. In November, with the onset of winter, pollution has been affecting people to a worrying level, with doctors recommending that residents in New Delhi, especially older people, and those with heart and respiratory ailments, should restrict time outside as well as physical activity.

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