Preterm Births Linked To Air Pollution: How To Protect Yourself & Baby

African American pregnant woman relaxingPre-term births is the most common reason for Black babies dying over 2.4 times the rate of White babies according to the CDC. Research has shown that pollution in low income communities has a lot to do with this. A study on environmental injustice and inequality showed that air pollution is an environmental and racial issue. The results speak for themselves as minorities are affected by air pollution at greater rates than Whites.

Dr. Candice Jones explained to BlackDoctor.org,”Air pollution has been shown to have negative health effects and even cause death in industrialized areas across the globe. Therefore, I am not surprised that it is also being associated with negative birth outcomes, specifically premature births.”

She adds that living in a toxin-free bubble isn’t possible but there are some ways to improve the air quality around you while pregnant.

Check the Air Quality

Dr. Jones said the State of the Air app or AIRNOW.GOV are good places to look for the air quality. The State of the Air app is made by the American Lung Association and gives you the ability to see what your lungs are intaking from anywhere in the United States. It provides a daily updated air quality index with ozone and pollution counts and provides a forecast for tomorrow’s air quality forecast. One of the cool things about this app is that it also allows you to message lawmakers about your concerns.

Stay Away From Congested Areas

“If possible steer clear from more crowded-congested areas, off of major roadways, transportation lines and away from major highways.” according to Dr. Jones. The exposure of air pollutants from the exhaust of vehicles can cause lung and heart problems and premature death according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. (EPA)

“We clearly need more regulatory interventions to decrease emissions of air pollutants from transportation, industry and even personal coal and wood burning in order to reach safer environmental levels. Then we might see reduction in associated premature birth rates in high risk regions,” said Dr. Jones.