Outdoor air pollution tied to 2.7 million preterm births per year

preterm-birthOutdoor air pollution has been linked to 2.7 million preterm births per year, a major study has concluded. When a baby is born preterm (at less than 37 weeks of gestation), there is an increased risk of death or long-term physical and neurological disabilities.

It found that in 2010, about 2.7 million pre-term births globally – or 18% of all pre-term births were associated with outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter. Results suggest that addressing major sources of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – from diesel vehicles, to agricultural waste-burning, could save babies’ lives and improve health outcomes.