Household Air Pollution Associated with Hypoxia in the Placenta
Household air pollution (HAP) is the eighth leading risk factor for global disease burden, contributing to 2.9 million annual premature deaths. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes likes stillbirth, preeclampsia, preterm birth, low birth weight, reduced fetal head circumference, miscarriage, and intra-uterine fetal growth retardation (IUGR).
More recently, a study looked at the effects of household air pollution (HAP) on pregnant firewood/kerosene and bioethanol stove-users in Nigeria compared to presumed natural gas-users in Chicago. The results support that in-utero exposure to HAP is associated with pathologic changes and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) expression consistent with chronic hypoxia in placenta of firewood/kerosene-users compared to ethanol-users with less HAP exposure and Chicago women with no presumed HAP exposure. Presence of chronic hypoxia in women’s placentas has implications for adverse pregnancy complications and future growth, and development of young children.