Expert Speaks On How Air Pollution Causes Damage
Air pollution in Delhi is on the rise with each passing day. Currently, the Air Quality Index (AQI) has crossed 400 which makes the condition severe. Every year due to stubble burning, the air quality in the region drops. Dipping temperatures only adds to the problems. Poor air quality is known to cause several health issues.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Arvind Kumar, Senior Lung specialist at Medanta Hospital explained how air pollution affects individuals of every age, from unborn children to the elderly. He said, “From a child who is yet unborn and is in his or her mother’s womb, from that unborn child to newborn to infants to children to adults and elderly, all age groups are affected by air pollution.” Check the video here:
Speaking on how air pollution affects an unborn child, Dr Kumar said, “You might wonder how an unborn child can be affected because that child is breathing and how the toxins in the air are reaching. When his or her mother is breathing in the polluted air, the toxins go into her lungs, through the lungs they go into the blood and through the placenta, they (toxins) reach the child/ embryo/ foetus and damage. So, depending on what age this happens, if it is first trimester, there will be a lot of congenital defects which is now a proven fact. In the later half, in the second and third trimester, it can cause growth retardation, intra-uterine death, premature delivery and a lot of problems around birth which continues thereafter.
“When the child is born, they start breathing the same air. Now, our air quality today is around 450-500, which is equal to about 25 to 30 cigarettes in terms of damage to the body. So, imagine a newborn smoking 25-30 cigarettes on the first day of his or her life. You can imagine what hell will let lose on various organ systems of that newborn and that continues. They have all sorts of breathing problems and that is why you will see all neonatal paediatric ICUs have lots of children on nebulizers. That is a direct effect of air pollution. Then it continues, it is the commonest cause of pneumonia-related deaths in the under 5 population, particularly in the rural areas where they are exposed to the air pollution because of the burning of the solid fuels.”
Dr Kumar also speaks on how air pollution affects adults, “And then in the adult stage, various other issues such as asthma, pneumonia, interstitial lung disease, tuberculosis and finally the most dreaded, lung cancer. Various heart ailments, premature hypertension, heart attack, brain development retardation, brain attack, hyperexcitability, and reproductive issues, infact from head to toe, there is no organ in the body which escapes the ill effects of air pollution.
“There is now evidence to say that it causes obesity, asthma and when there’s obesity and exposure to air pollution, the chances of asthma becomes high which was shown by The Lung Care Foundation in a study of 1100 children in Delhi where we found one of three children to be suffering from asthma and when obesity was also present, this number went high.”
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