Chromosomal Function/Fetal Development/Fertility

Updated May, 2022

*Babies are essentially born pre-polluted by the air breathed by the mother during pregnancy. Particulate matter and the chemicals attached to them can cross the placenta and interfere with fetal development

* Pregnant women exposed to more air pollution give birth to babies with significantly more chromosomal aberrations including shorter telomeres and epigenetic changes which can be passed on to multiple subsequent generations.

* Exposure even to brief episodes of pollution at critical stages in the development of the human embryo can increase the risk of birth defects like neural tube defects, and cause the baby as an adult to experience an increased likelihood of multiple chronic diseases including those of the heart, lungs, immune system and brain and even obesity, diabetes, cancer and shortened life expectancy.

* Air pollution breathed by a pregnant mother causes epigenetic changes in the womb, which is associated with higher rates of lung and heart disease in animals and humans in childhood as an adult.

* Pollution impairs virtually every component of human reproduction—causing sperm DNA damage, increase in the rates of male infertility, decreases fertilization, menstruation, and increases miscarriages and other adverse reproductive outcomes. Preconception/prenatal Air pollution exposure of the father is associated is associated with lower birth weight of newborns.

* Children living near petrochemical industries are exposed to high PAH levels, contributing to DNA damage. Industrial pollution is even more genotoxic than traffic pollution.

*Regarding birth weights and poor neurologic outcomes, males are generally more affected by prenatal air pollution than females.

*Even preconception pollution exposure of the mother increases the risk of congenital malformations

[Medical References]