Air pollution may cause permanent damage to your child's brain

UNICEF report says that air pollution can permanently damage a child's brain: All about it and solutions to combat air pollution

The findings come at a time when India, particularly in the north, is facing a serious crisis due to rising levels of pollution.

Nearly 17 million babies across the world are breathing toxic air, which could be damaging the development of their brains, a report released by UNICEF on Wednesday claims.

“Protecting children from air pollution not only benefits children.

"No child should have to breathe dangerously polluted air and no society can afford to ignore air pollution", said Lake.

The global humanitarian group says worldwide toxic air levels in some areas are six times higher than recommended limits and that many of those zones were found in South Asia where 12 million at-risk babies live.

Air pollution for long has been known to cause several ailments related to breathing and general health and according to the United Nations Children's Fund report titled "Danger In the Air" air pollution can also permanently damage a child's brain.

The report finds a possible link between prenatal exposures and delayed development of an infant's brain, along with psychological and behavioural problems that may occur later in childhood.

Pollutants inhaled by pregnant women may pass through the placenta and disturb the development of the brain of the foetus.

There are 136 million children under the age of 1 globally, which means one in eight are being exposed to toxic air, the United Nations children's fund said.

The paper shows that air pollution, like inadequate nutrition and stimulation, and exposure to violence during the critical first 1,000 days of life, can affect the development of their growing brains. The variety of types of pollutants that are in the air across different environments make it hard to determine the full impact of air pollution.

The author of the "Danger In The Air" report, Nicholas Rees, told AFP that toxic pollution is "impacting children's learning, their memories, linguistic and motor skills".

UNICEF warns that as more countries grow into modern, urban societies, governments have failed to provide "adequate protection and pollution reduction measures" to protect young children.

Rees said masks help "but very importantly they have to have good filters and they also have to fit children's faces well".

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