The American Heart Association’s Hypertension journal published the study of pregnant women who breathed in high levels of fine particulate pollution – the hazy air seen over major urban areas around the world. They looked at 1,239 mothers and their children aged three to nine who live in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
As Reuters reported: “When they sorted children into three groups from highest to lowest levels of exposure…in the womb, children in the highest-exposure group were 61 per cent more likely to have high blood pressure than kids with the lowest exposure”.
The pollution of the areas where the women lived during their third trimesters were gauged by taking readings from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors nearby.
Children who were in the high-risk group were exposed to more than double the acceptable levels of fine particulate pollution set by the agency.
They were identified as having high blood pressure if their systolic – or the top number – blood pressure was in the highest 10 per cent for those their same age.