Unmasking the Invisible Threat: How Fine Particulate Matter Impacts Newborns Worldwide

Fine Particulate Matter

Unmasking the Invisible Threat: How Fine Particulate Matter Impacts Newborns Worldwide

Every breath we take could contain a hidden danger that’s often too small for us to see or even notice. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) might sound like another technical term, but its implications are far-reaching and affect us all. The body is, however, good at protecting against these hidden dangers. Southern Scientific Services has been closely following the latest research in this field. In a recent study published in October, researchers delved into the world of PM2.5, uncovering its effects on newborns worldwide from 1990 to 2019. Let’s take a closer look at their findings and why they matter to all of us.


What is Fine Particulate Matter?

Fine particulate matter, commonly called PM2.5, is a term that might not ring any alarm bells for most people. But, these minuscule particles are named fine particulate matter (PM2.5) because they measure 2.5 micrometres or are smaller in diameter. Fine particulate matter can potentially pose a significant health risk to newborns. They’re so tiny that they can be inhaled deep into our lungs, and some can even enter our bloodstream. Picture this: dust, smoke, soot, and small droplets hanging in the air around us. These seemingly innocuous particles are PM2.5 and are everywhere, even if we can’t see them.

What Causes Fine Particulate Matter?

  • Fossil Fuels: The burning of fossil fuels to heat homes.
  • Inefficient Burning Process: The inefficient burning process in stoves and open fires releases unburned particles into the air. This pollution is inhaled by individuals and communities, leading to adverse health effects.
  • Burning of Bituminous Coal: Burning bituminous coal, often called “smoky coal,” has significantly contributed to air pollution, especially during winter. This type of coal combustion is linked to the formation of smog, consisting of various chemicals and particulate matter, which can cause respiratory illnesses and related health problems. Those with conditions like asthma, including many children, are particularly vulnerable. Bituminous coal burning releases significant amounts of fine particulate matter.
  • Petrol and Diesel: Nitrogen oxides, or NOX, encompass gases such as nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), both harmful air pollutants resulting from the combustion of petrol or diesel in internal combustion engines. NO2 is particularly concerning due to its significant health impacts.


Connecting the Dots: Fine Particulate Matter and Neonatal Disorders

Previous studies have suggested a troubling connection between fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution and increased health risks for pregnant women and newborns. However, this latest research examines global trends over several years in neonatal disorders linked to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure. The goal was to understand how these tiny particles affect the most vulnerable among us: newborn babies.

Key Findings: The Impact of Fine Particulate Matter on Newborns

  1. In 2019, a staggering one-fifth of the global burden of neonatal disorders was linked to PM2.5 exposure. That’s 7.54% from ambient PM2.5 and 13.23% from household PM2.5.
  2. Over the past 30 years, the burden of neonatal disorders associated with household PM2.5 has decreased significantly, while that linked to ambient PM2.5 has risen, especially in regions with lower sociodemographic indexes.
  3. South Asia bore the brunt of neonatal disorders related to ambient PM2.5 in 2019, with East Asia experiencing the highest population-attributable fraction (PAF). The most rapid increases occurred in Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  4. Despite the decrease, household PM2.5-related neonatal disorders still accounted for approximately two-thirds of the overall PM2.5-related neonatal disease burden.


Fine Particulate Matter


Summary: Impact of Air Pollution on Newborns.

  • The study discussed in this article serves as a stark reminder of the significant impact of air pollution on newborns worldwide.
  • This research underscores the importance of addressing this issue, especially in regions with lower sociodemographic indexes, where the burden continues to rise.
  • The trends unveiled in this study offer vital insights for reducing the health risks associated with fine matter particulate (PM2.5) exposure among newborns.
  • It’s a call to action for governments, organisations, and individuals to combat air pollution and ensure a healthier future for the next generation.

Southern Scientific Services’ ethos is to provide reliable and accurate environmental testing and consultancy services


sss Logo high res


Reference: For further information on this study.

  1. Hao Zhao, Xuening Zhang, Wanxin Wang, Jingman Shi, Wenjian Lai, Yanzhi Li, Caiyun Zhang, Lan Guo, Jianhua Gong, Li Li, Ciyong Lu,
    Global, regional, and national burden of ambient and household PM2.5-related neonatal disorders, 1990–2019, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Volume 252, 2023, 114560, ISSN 0147-6513, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2023.114560.

H2.0 – Revealing the Future of Water Quality.

Water Quality Advancements for the Future. With the world progressing at breakneck speed, our water quality in water sources faces some challenges, but there is a silver lining: new and existing technologies could provide potential solutions to upgrading the water quality. In this article, we will delve deep into the

Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping