This new study by researchers at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona studied the effects on mothers’ lungs of exposure of mothers to atmospheric contaminants during pregnancy. This study determined that contaminated air during pregnancy, especially in the second trimester, is detrimental to children’s lung function and development.
Eva Morales, the professor who directed the study, comments that it aimed to analyze exposure to air contamination during the three trimesters of pregnancy and postnatal life, and then to assess the pulmonary function of children to preschool age. .
This study included 1295 pregnant women, who were exposed to air contamination, and 620 children whose lung function was analyzed until the age of four.
These contamination levels were measured by nitrogen dioxide and benzene levels. The result of this research made it clear that exposure to high levels of benzene and nitrogen dioxide during pregnancy is associated with decreased pulmonary function parameters in respiratory tests. Forced respiratory volume used as a marker of airway obstruction was 18.4 milliliters of benzene and 28 milliliters of nitrogen dioxide in women exposed to contamination during the second trimester of pregnancy.
The difference between children with mothers living in more contaminated areas was very large compared to children with mothers living in less contaminated areas . The risk of impaired children’s lung function was 22% in mothers whose exposure to benzene air contamination was high and 30% in mothers whose exposure to nitrogen dioxide air contamination was high.
In addition, there was no significant evidence of an association between early postnatal life, recent and current exposures to outdoor air contaminants with preschool age lung function.