Air pollution, smog may permanently damage children's brain, warns UNICEF report

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Research has also proven that there is a link between prenatal exposures to high levels of air pollution and even delays the development of kids, as well as affect the psychological and behavioural problems later during their childhood, which include symptoms of attention that deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression.

The first and foremost step that each one of us should take is towards reducing air pollution as much as possible.

Nearly 17 million babies across the world are breathing toxic air, which could be damaging the development of their brains, a report released by UNICEF on Wednesday claims. 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.

Satellite imagery analyzed by UNICEF indicates that 12.2 million of the children exposed to severe air pollution live in South Asia.

The report sets out a range of ways that the impact of air pollution on babies' brains could be lowered.

"Protecting children from air pollution not only benefits children".

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"Not only do pollutants harm babies' developing lungs: They can permanently damage their developing brains - and, thus, their futures", UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said.

The brains of developing children are especially vulnerable because they can be harmed by smaller doses of toxic chemicals compared to adults' brains, the report states. It also urged public authorities to invest in cleaner renewable energy and to make it feasible for children to travel at times of day with diminished pollution, as well as to zone major sources of pollution far away from schools, clinics and hospitals.

For their part, parents can reduce children's exposure in the home to harmful fumes produced by tobacco products, cook stoves and heating fires.

The united Nations is calling on governments to intensify the fight against pollution as well as to strengthen the protection of children, including through the use of facial masks and filtration systems of the air.

The European Environment Agency has found that polluted air kills half a million EU residents per year.

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