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Poor air can impact the brain & heart

Pregnant women too can be negatively affected

Subhajoy Roy | Published 03.08.22, 06:14 AM
A smoke-belching taxi.

A smoke-belching taxi.

File photograph

Poor air quality can impact multiple organs and its harmful effects are not only limited to the lungs and the respiratory system, doctors and public health experts said on Tuesday. The cardiovascular system and the brain can also get impacted by polluted air.

Pregnant women too can be negatively impacted, they said.  The ultra-fine particulate matters like PM2.5 can lead to blocks in arteries feeding the brain and can trigger a stroke, said Poornima Prabhakaran, the deputy director of the Centre for Environmental Health at the Public Health Foundation of India in New Delhi. 

Ranjan Kumar Das, a pulmonologist at the Medica Superspecialty Hospital, said PM2.5 or even finer particulate matters can enter the bloodstream directly. Once the particulate matters enter the bloodstream, they can travel to any organ, Das said. 

Prabhakaran and Das spoke at the Medica Superspeciality Hospital on Tuesday on the health impacts of air pollution. 

“Research has shown that if a pregnant woman is exposed to polluted air, the baby could be born with less than normal weight. There could also be premature birth. Studies have also shown that babies born with less than normal weight or babies born prematurely can go on to have problems with physical growth and cognitive development,” said Prabhakaran. 

As part of a plan to raise awareness among people about the health impacts of air pollution, the Centre for Environmental Health is partnering with hospitals to display the air quality index on televisions or screens inside the hospital where patients or their families assemble. Posters designed by the foundation to explain the health impacts of air pollution to common people will also be displayed on these screens.

Last updated on 03.08.22, 06:14 AM
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