A review of factors surrounding the air pollution exposure to in-pram babies and mitigation strategies

Sharma, A., Kumar, P. (2018)

Environment International,120, 262-278

Air pollution exposure to in-pram babies poses a serious threat to their early childhood development, necessitating a need for effective mitigation measures. We reviewed the scientific and grey literature on in-pram babies and their personal exposure to traffic generated air pollutants such as particulate matter </=10mum (PM10), </=2.5mum (PM2.5), </=0.10mum (ultrafine particles) in size, black carbon and nitrogen oxides and potential mitigation pathways. In-pram babies can be exposed up to ~60% higher average concentrations depending on the pollutant types compared with adults. The air within the first few meters above the road level is usually most polluted. Therefore, we classified various pram types based on criteria such as height, width and the seating capacity (single versus twin) and assessed the breathing heights of sitting babies in various pram types available in the market. This classification revealed the pram widths between 0.56 and 0.82m and top handle heights up to ~1.25m as opposed to breathing height between 0.55 and 0.85m, suggesting that the concentration within the first meter above the road level is critical for exposure to in-pram babies. The assessment of flow features around the prams suggests that meteorological conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction) and traffic-produced turbulence affect the pollution dispersion around them. A survey of the physicochemical properties of particles from roadside environment demonstrated the dominance of toxic metals that have been shown to damage their frontal lobe as well as cognition and brain development when inhaled by in-pram babies. We then assessed a wide range of active and passive exposure mitigation strategies, including a passive control at the receptor such as the enhanced filtration around the breathing zone and protection of prams via covers. Technological solutions such as creating a clean air zone around the breathing area can provide instant solutions. However, a holistic approach involving a mix of innovative technological solutions, community empowerment and exposure-centric policies are needed to help limit personal exposure of in-pram babies.

Subject headings: Air Movements; Air Pollutants/analysis/chemistry; Air Pollution/analysis; Environmental Monitoring; Humans; Infant; Infant Equipment/classification; Particulate Matter/analysis/chemistry; Active filtration; Baby pram; Particulate matter exposure; Passive control; Ultrafine particles

Find the full text: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412018306585

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2977