Monday, February 16, 2009

Air Pollution Linked to Developing Asthma While in the Womb

A recent study has proven that air pollution causes genetic changes while babies are still in the womb and often increase a child’s risk of developing asthma. This study was conducted from 56 children. Scientists discovered that when exposed to traffic fumes which include a wide variety of airborne impurities; children’s genes were actually reprogrammed. These genes just so happened to be the ones that were associated with asthma symptoms that usually develop around age five.

This is a significant study because it is the first time that pollution has been shown to actually influence and change genes. The study also happens to record the mothers exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are a by product of combustion and are usually present in heavy traffic areas. Researches discovered that there is a connection between chemical changes and high levels of air pollution exposure.

This is an example of epigenetic change which is where environmental factors are able to change the activity of genes without creating structural or mutation changes. There is still plenty of research to be done however. Results have shown that exposure to pollution can interact with genes that effect you later on in life. The benefit of the study is that scientists believe that this could help reduce 25% of asthma or at least reduce the potential damage it could have in the early stages of life.

While the test moves on with continued research for more clear solutions, there are some steps that you could take now to reduce the chances of asthma in your baby while pregnant. It is best that if you are pregnant to stay away from air pollution, but if you are unable to there are other options. If you live in a high traffic areas, look towards vacuum cleaners and air purifiers with HEPA to help control the air pollution within your household , office or apartment. These household appliance have been shown to greatly improve indoor air quality up to 99.97%. Remember proper protection will only aid in help preventing or reducing any potential asthma problems while your child is still in the womb.

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