Dust Pollution Linked to Infant Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa

Environmental science and medical researchers at Stanford and UC San Diego have collaborated on a new study, published recently in Nature Sustainability, that explores how dust pollution in the air contributes to infant mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Even small increases in dust can lead to large increases in infant mortality,” said the study’s senior author, environmental scientist Marshall Burke, PhD, in a video about the research from the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

The study, which focused on children living in Sub-Saharan Africa, found that a 25% increase in local annual mean particulate concentrations in West Africa causes an 18% increase in infant mortality. Tiny particles in dust also impair young children’s growth.

Challenges to protecting children from air pollution

There are several challenges to trying to protect infants and children from air pollution. For example, many homes in developing regions of Africa have open windows or are made from permeable materials, and much of the pollution comes from non-manmade sources. Read more…

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