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Global Health
August 21, 2018

Air Pollution Linked to Infant Deaths

JAMA. 2018;320(7):633. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11673

Poor air quality is responsible for 1 in 5 infant deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study published in Nature.

To quantify the effect of breathable air pollutants on premature deaths among infants in Africa, the investigators examined recent satellite-based estimates of air pollutant particles (ambient respirable particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm [PM2.5]). They combined the air quality data with results from 65 household surveys across 30 sub-Saharan African countries on the timing and location of almost 1 million infant births—and any subsequent deaths in the first year of life—between 2001 and 2015. They then matched the location and timing of each birth to satellite-based estimates of PM2.5 exposure from 9 months before birth to 12 months after.

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