Move Over, Traffic: Aircraft Emissions and Preterm Birth

Topic: Family Planning
Words: 415 Pages: 2

The article provides data and arguments regarding the impact of small UFP particles released by jet planes on premature births among pregnant women in the area of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The scientific evidence proved that pregnant women from the highest quartile of average UFP exposure were 14% more likely to give a premature birth than the pregnant women from the lowest quartile of average UFP exposure in the area.

According to Konkel, “on an equal mass basis, UFPs may have a greater impact on tissues than larger particles – their small size allows them to move freely throughout the body, and their greater surface areas allow them to absorb more toxic chemicals” (074003-1). It means that air pollution with tiny UFP particles is even more hazardous than nitrogen dioxide emissions from traffic. Exposure of pregnant women to this pollution is extremely dangerous, as premature birth has many negative consequences for the baby’s health, including problems with the heart, lungs, eyes, and brain development.

The research was done properly, and the scientists adjusted exposure to nitrogen dioxide and other variables that affect the risk of preterm birth, such as airport noise levels, mother’s age, educational level, and race. Experts commenting on the study raised concerns about the impact of airport pollution on the health of local residents, as many airports are located near residential areas (Konkel 074003-2). In this regard, the scientists concluded that there is an urgent need to address the issue of air pollution.

To be more specific, the scholars stated that future research should focus on determining the impact of airport emissions on the health of women in other regions of the country and the world. Therefore, the study is of particular importance for populations, given the prevalence of the phenomenon. This study used open-source birth records for the airport area, the time period of 2008-2016 (Konkel 074003-1). Subsequent analysis may include the need for a more thorough study of the issue.

For example, researchers can take blood and urine tests from mothers to study biomarkers and understand how UFP works in a woman’s organism and what destructive processes it can cause. So far, scientists have speculated that UFPs induce inflammation and oxidative stress associated with preterm births (Konkel 074003-1). Experts believe that more data on the direct effects of UFP particles will raise the issue at higher levels and allow taking action that will help change the situation, such as initiating discussions on plans to measure and control UFP particles.

Works Cited

Konkel, Lindsey. “Move Over, Traffic: Aircraft Emissions and Preterm Birth.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 128, no. 7, 2020, p. 074003.

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