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Smog's Youngest Victims

Those living in areas with higher levels of ozone and carbon monoxide were as much as three times as likely to give birth to children with heart defects.

  • Mark Cheater
  • Apr 01, 2002
AIR POLLUTION is so insidious that its impacts reach inside the womb, scientists say. In a study of pregnant women living in the Los Angeles area, researchers found those living in areas with higher levels of ozone and carbon monoxide were as much as three times as likely to give birth to children with heart defects. Carbon monoxide is one of the pollutants produced by cars and trucks, and ozone is formed in the atmosphere from industrial and vehicle emissions.

"These findings show that there are more health problems caused by air pollution than solely asthma and other respiratory illnesses," says Beate Ritz of the University of California at Los Angeles. "There seems to be something in the air that can harm developing fetuses."

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