4.PM2.5 AND ANAEMIA
- A recent study by IIT delhi has tried to establish the association between ambientPM 2.5 exposure and occurrence of anaemia among children under the age of 5years of age in India.
- 5 refers to particles that have diameter less than 2.5 micrometres(more than100 times thinner than a human hair) and remain suspended for longer.
- These particles are formed as a result of burning fuel and chemicalreactionsthat take place in the atmosphere. Natural processes such as forestfiresalso contribute to PM2.5 in the air. These particles are also the primaryreason for occurrence of smog.
- Extended periods of exposure to PM 2.5 can lead to anaemiaamong childrenunder the age of 5 years. About 63% of the included children were found to beanaemic.
CHILDREN AT RISK:
- Children with lower age had higher vulnerability ofbeing anaemic.
- Children from lower wealth index levels had higher percentagesof anaemia.
- Children born to anaemic women have higherchances of developing anaemia.
- Higher PM2.5 levels exposure, decreases the average haemoglobin levels inchildren.
- The study is important because so far anaemia has been looked at throughthe prism of nutrition deficiency, specifically that of iron.
- Exposure to air pollution, especially PM 2.5, has been shown to inducesystemic inflammation.
- Inflammation refers to the body’s process of fighting against thingsthat harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt toheal itself.
- Over time, chronic inflammation may have a negative impact on tissues and organs.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) defines anaemia as a condition in whichthe number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meetphysiological needs.
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia, although otherconditions, such as folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin A deficiencies, chronicinflammation, parasitic infections, and inherited disorders can all causeanaemia.
- In its severe form, it is associated with fatigue, weakness, dizziness anddrowsiness.
- Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable.
- Emphasis must be laid on to curb PM 2.5 levels, especially in urban areas.
- A holistichealth strategy is required to effectively address the issue of anaemia. Also, there is aneed to bridge the gap between policy and practice.
- The mother’s health needs to be addressed as anaemia in mothers and prematuredelivery can also lead to childhood anaemia.