"Air Pollution as Great a Risk as Smoking During Pregnancy"

"Exposure to even low levels of common air pollutants during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of babies being born small, according to one of the largest studies of its kind."

"The research, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, found that exposure to air pollutants increased the risk of babies being born weighing less than 2.5kg, and reduced their average head circumference.

The risk was even increased at pollution levels well below those deemed unsafe by the European Union.

Babies born with low birth weight are at greater risk of dying in infancy. Low weight has also been associated with asthma in childhood and decreased lung function in adults, while the circumference of a baby’s head can affect brain development."

Sarah Morrison reports for the Independent October 15, 2013.

Source: Independent, 10/15/2013