Details of the link between air pollution and the health of unborn children are growing.
Hot on the heels of a British Medical Journal study that linked outdoor air pollution to lower birthweight of babies, a new study has found, conversely, that switching from more polluting traditional cookstoves to cleaner-burning ethanol ones has positive impacts on birth outcomes.
The study, “Pregnancy outcomes and ethanol cook stove intervention: A randomized-controlled trial in Ibadan, Nigeria,” showed that babies born to mothers who cooked with ethanol were born later (39.2 weeks vs 38.2 weeks average gestational age) and heavier (88 grams) than babies born to mothers cooking with either wood or kerosene.
About three billion people cook and heat their homes with open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.
More than 50 per cent of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 years old are caused by the particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.
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