This is a no brainer. We know that pollution is harmful to our health. What is new is that it can harm the unborn.
High blood pressure typically occurs in adulthood, so when children develop the condition, it often means something is very wrong. A child might have kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or a heart problem. Obesity can also be a factor.
But what about seemingly healthy youngsters whose blood pressure has shot up?
Their risk, a study suggests, may trace back to before their birth.
In a paper published Monday in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, researchers reported that children of mothers who were exposed in their third trimester to higher levels of fine particulate pollution — the tiny airborne matter that causes haze in many cities around the world — were at a 61 percent higher risk of elevated blood pressure.
The study of families in the Boston area involved 1,293 mothers and their children, ages 3 to 9. About 160 of the children had elevated blood pressure. Pollution levels were gauged by looking at home addresses and nearby Environmental Protection Agency monitors to measure air quality. Those readings are taken as often as every three days. (more…)