Pollution ‘increases miscarriage risk’ High levels of industry and traffic pollution could increase the risk of miscarriage according to the latest research.
Experts in Brazil studied the effects of diesel exhaust particles and found a link between exposure and failed pregnancies.
While the study was carried out in South America, researchers believe the same effect could be seen in other cities worldwide.
In January, the European Commission announced it was prosecuting the UK for breaking air pollution laws after it failed to sufficiently reduce levels of particles known as PM10s, which are mainly caused by industry and traffic.
More than 20 British cities were found to have dangerous levels of the particles between 2005 and 2007. The Government has now asked the Commission for extra time to bring down levels of particles.
It is estimated that air pollution contributes to between 12,000 and 24,000 premature deaths in the country each year.
Dr Paulo Marcelo Perin, from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, announced results looking at the effect of diesel exhaust particles, including PM10s, on embryos in mice.
He found diesel disrupted the development of cells, which can trigger a miscarriage, and the effect was apparent even at low levels of exposure.
Dr Perin said: “Our latest study found that air pollution significantly decreased the cell population (of embryos). When you have a decrease in cell mass you compromise embryo viability.
“Because diesel is a major component of air pollution we can assume most of the effect is from diesel.”
His aim was to confirm previous research which found higher pregnancy loss among women undergoing IVF exposed to poor quality air.