Air Pollution Causes Low Birth Weight among Babies

March 4, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. multinational (adj.) – consisting of many countries or people from different countries
Example: Our company worked with WHO and other international groups to develop a multinational health awareness campaign.

2. correlation (n.) – a direct or indirect relationship between two or more things
Example: Population and pollution rate has a positive correlation.

3. inhale (v.) – to breathe in
Example: The pregnant woman had allergies after inhaling some molds.

4. particle (n.) – a very tiny part
ExampleParticles are so small that the human eye cannot see them.

5. concentration (n.) – the strength in the amount of solute (anything mixed with a liquid) in a mixture or solution
Example: My mother adds water to juice concentrations to lessen the sweetness.

Read the text below.

A recent study on pollution reveals that pregnant mothers who are constantly exposed to air pollution from vehicles and factories may give birth to babies with low birth weight.

A multinational group of scientists conducted the study by examining three million births starting from mid-1990s. The data were from 14 locations in nine Asian, Australian and North and South American countries. This study is the largest research done on the correlation of infant health and pollution.

The survey showed that women who inhaled a lot of polluted air have a high risk of giving birth to babies weighing only 2,500 grams. Low birth weight is known to cause learning difficulties and health problems among the babies.

Tracey Woodruff, one of the researchers said that tiny dust particles in the air might affect one’s health depending on the particle’s concentration and size. Woodruff added that even very little dust particles could already increase the possibility of having low birth babies by three percent.

Air pollution causes low birth weight probably because pollution affects the mother’s health, allowing pollutants to enter the baby’s system and harm its health.

To address air pollution problems, Clean Air laws in America limit the dust particles’ size to less than 2.5 micrometers and the concentration to less than 12 micrograms per cubic meter. Europe requires no more than 25 micrograms. On the contrary, China has about 700 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         How else can air pollution affect pregnant women?
·         In your opinion, what other things are bad for the health of pregnant women and infants? Please explain briefly.

Discussion B

·         How can we reduce air pollution?
·         Aside from pollution, what other environmental problems should people address? Why do you think so?


March 4, 2013