Metals and other air pollutants have been found in the placentas of new mothers, which means such pollutants may be able to reach the fetus, researchers report.
“Our study for the first time shows that inhaled carbon particulate matter in air pollution travels in the blood stream, and is taken up by important cells in the placenta. We hope that this information will encourage policy makers to reduce road traffic emissions,” said lead author Dr. Jonathan Grigg, a professor of pediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University of London.
His team analyzed placentas donated by 15 healthy women in London who had just given birth. Black particles that closely resembled particulate air pollution were found in an average of 1% of cells in all 15 placentas.
Most of the particles were carbon-based. But there were also trace amounts of metals, including silica, phosphorus, calcium, iron and chromium, and