Breastfeeding protects kids from pollution

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London: Mother’s milk may protect their babies from the adverse effects of environmental pollution, suggests a new research.

The researchers assessed how exposure to environmental pollution during pregnancy affects health and examined the role of diet in physical and neuro-behavioural development in infancy.

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They focused on motor and mental development during the first years of life caused by exposure to the hazardous pollution particle matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

“In the foetal phase the central nervous system is being formed and lacks sufficient detoxification mechanisms to eliminate the toxins that build up,” pointed out researcher Aitana Lertxundi from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).

However, the researchers found that neither the PM2.5 particle matter nor the NO2 exert a harmful effect on babies breastfed on mother’s milk for at least four months.

The monitoring study started in 2006 when the mothers were pregnant and is continuing today now that the children have reached the age of eight.

So far, samples taken from 638 pregnant women and their babies when they were 15 months old have been analysed.

The findings appeared in the journal Environment International.