Soot pollution particles 'cross the placenta’

September 18, 2019  14:04

Belgian scientists found soot microparticles from the polluted air that women breathed during pregnancy in their placenta. Researchers suspect that these particles may adversely affect the health of newborns, Science News reported

Soot, which gets into the air due to incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, affects people's health in different ways. Various studies suggest that due to their small size, these particles enter not only the lungs together with the air we breathe, but also to other organs - in particular, to the brain. Having discovered such particles in the urine of healthy children, Belgian scientists decided to find out where else they can get.

The authors decided to opt for the placenta. Despite the fact that this is one of the most protected human organs - the fetus protects against a special barrier from harmful particles - earlier studies have shown that soot particles can still penetrate the placenta. However, these studies were limited to either in vitro cell cultures or animal studies. Therefore, Belgium’s scientists decided to study living people.

To do this, they examined 28 pregnant women. For 23 of them, they began to monitor already in the late stages of pregnancy, and took placenta tests after the birth. Scientists took another five samples of the placenta for analysis from women who gave birth prematurely.

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