UNICEF Says 17 Million Babies At Risk From Toxic Air

Lake called on countries exceeding worldwide limits to step up efforts to reduce air pollution.

Air pollution for long has been known to cause several ailments related to breathing and general health and according to the United Nations Children's Fund report titled "Danger In the Air" air pollution can also permanently damage a child's brain.

The report comes at a time when north India, particularly Delhi and adjoining areas, battle high pollution levels with air quality swaying from "very poor" to "emergency" levels, restricting physical activity and forcing closure of schools.

The asian continent, which regularly produces impressive images of the "smog" in New Delhi or Beijing, for a total of 16 of the 17 million children in the world under the age of one year who are exposed to critical levels of pollution -at least six times higher than the ceilings considered safe for the health.

There are 136 million children under the age of 1 globally, which means one in eight are being exposed to toxic air, the United Nations children's fund said.

“No child should have to breathe dangerously polluted air – and no society can afford to ignore air pollution, ” Mr. Lake concluded. The variety of types of pollutants that are in the air across different environments make it hard to determine the full impact of air pollution.

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Scientists have not conclusively proved findings about air pollution's effects on brain development, but a rapidly growing body of evidence creates "reason for concern", UNICEF's Nicholas Rees, the report's author, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "But this growing body of research does provide an indication of the scale of harm", said the UNICEF.

Reducing children's exposure in the areas of high air pollution is also very important.

The report mentions that toxic air can also lead to anxiety disorder and may affect IQ level and memory pattern in kids.

The paper urges parents to take steps to reduce children's exposure to harmful chemicals, including from tobacco products and cooking stoves.

According to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report for 2017, almost 40 percent of the United States' population still live in counties that have unhealthful levels of air pollution.

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