Air pollution is a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and their babies, and new studies continue to define the connection between air quality, pregnancy and newborns. Pollution particles in the air, chemicals, gases and other air contaminants can affect birth weight and cause other health problems for mothers and babies. Fortunately, most – but not all – of the airborne contaminants associated with air pollution can be controlled in the indoor environment by using a high-quality air purifier.
A study released in early February by the University of California, San Francisco, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a clear link between air pollution particle exposure and low birth weight. Researchers investigated more than 3 million births worldwide and found that the higher the rate of air pollution, the greater the likelihood of a baby being born at a low birth weight. According to the March of Dimes Foundation, about one in 12 babies born in the U.S. is born with a low birth weight. Low birth weight babies are susceptible to a variety of respiratory and other disorders and are more likely to have other medical problems later in life, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
Particle air pollution, paint fumes and volatile organic compounds and other pollutants can be controlled indoors through the use of a high-quality air purifier. Pregnant women and new mothers who live in areas with elevated levels of air pollution, live near a freeway, or are concerned about exposure to chemicals and gases in the home should take action to protect themselves and their babies from the dangers in the air they breathe. An effective air purifier in the home should be part of the strategy.
Equally important is avoiding air pollutants whenever possible. Examples of pollutants to be avoided include tobacco smoke, paint fumes and cleaning products. Mothers and babies, like everyone else, should avoid unnecessary exposure to ozone as well, and dangerous ozone-generating air cleaners should never be used. Sales of ozone-generating “air cleaners” are prohibited in California but allowed in other states. Exposure to ozone has been linked to low birth weight in babies, especially when the exposure occurs in the second or third trimester. Pregnant women and new mothers should also avoid unnecessary exposure to carbon monoxide, a component of air pollution that air purifiers cannot effectively filter.
The most effective room air purifier for control of particle pollution is the IQAir New Edition HealthPro series. IQAir’s HyperHEPA filtration technology removes more than 99.97% of all particles in the air and is also proven effective against tiny ultrafine particles that other air cleaners ignore. In addition, IQAir’s New Edition room air purifiers are the quietest high-performance air purifiers ever made, which makes them a good fit for a newborn baby’s room. HyperHEPA technology is also featured in the IQAir Perfect 16 whole-house air purifier. For homes where secondhand smoke or chemicals and gases are an issue, IQAir recommends the IQAir GC MultiGas air purifier with advanced gas and chemical filtration.