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Air Pollution Increases Premature Births

8683752_sAir pollution a risk for pregnant women: Study
By QMI Agency
California researchers have linked air pollution to an increase in premature births.

The study looked at 100,000 births of those living within five miles of air quality monitoring stations over a 22-month period starting in June 2004. They used information provided by the California Department of Health about the births and the mothers, as well as air pollution information from monitoring stations, which measure concentrations of airborne toxic pollutants.

The researchers found exposure to critical pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons led to a 30% increase in premature births compared to pregnant women who didn't have the same exposure. Other toxic substances, such as benzene and fine particulate matter from diesel fumes, were associated with a 10% increase and ammonium nitrate fine particles were associated with a 21% increase.

Researchers said air pollution is already known to be associated with low birth weight.

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