(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
About 17 million babies worldwide live in areas where outdoor air pollution is six times the recommended limit, and their brain development is at risk, the UN children's agency (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.
The majority of these babies – more than 12 million – are in South Asia, it said, in a study of children under one-year-old, using satellite imagery to identify worst-affected regions.
"Not only do pollutants harm babies' developing lungs – they can permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures," said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.
Any air pollution above the World Health Organization's recommended limit is potentially harmful for children, and risks grow as pollution worsens, UNICEF said.