Parents should try to avoid household air pollution by using less polluting fuels for cooking and heating and not smoking but to reduce child exposure to ambient pollution they should need to lobby politicians to clean up the environment, WHO experts said.
“Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. Large parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America are among the worst affected.
“This is inexcusable. Every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfill their full potential.”
The WHO report, “Prescribing clean air”, summarized the latest scientific knowledge on the effect on children of air pollution, which affects about 93 percent of children globally.
Maria Neira, WHO’s head of environmental determinants of health, said the worrying findings highlighted in the study, including evidence of pollution causing stillbirth and preterm birth, as well as diseases into adulthood, should lead to policy changes globally.
“Something that is critical as well is this issue of the neuro-development,” she said.
Air pollution can also cause childhood cancers, asthma, poor lung function, pneumonia and other types of acute lower respiratory infection, the report said.