polluted endangering newborns
Credit: César Rincón/Flicikr

Polluted air is endangering newborns in New Mexico

A new study reveals that air pollution is significantly linked to low birth weight among babies born near industrial areas in New Mexico, posing serious health risks.

Nick Bowlin reports for High Country News.


In short:

  • The University of New Mexico study connects exposure to five industrial pollutants with low birth weight in infants.
  • Areas like Albuquerque, Santa Fe and the Permian Basin –the country's most productive oilfield– have some of the worst air quality in the U.S., affecting local newborns' health.
  • Minority and low-income communities face disproportionate impacts from pollution, with higher incidences of low birth weight among Black and Latino infants.

Key quote:

“The stakes are incredibly high. Low birth weight not only impacts the health of newborns but can also set children up for health issues that extend well into adulthood.”

— Giovanna Rossi, New Mexico organizer for Moms Clean Air Force.

Why this matters:

Protecting pregnant women and their babies from industrial pollution is vital as low birth weight is linked to severe health issues, from respiratory problems to heart disease, creating a critical public health crisis. Read more: Air pollution linked to millions of birth complications across the globe.

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