Pregnant women living near to busy roads are beng warned they are more at risk of developing serious complications. New research has revealed that noise and pollution from roads could make pre-eclampsia more likely.
The condition is suffered by 42,000 women in Britain alone annually. The study suggests that pollutants from cars and other vehicles, and the noise of traffic, could increase levels of stress and cause inflamation which in turn leads to high blood pressure.
In a study which looked at 73,000 woman in Denmark, the conclusions have added to a growing body of research which shows air and noise pollution associated with traffic heavy routes could have adverse health impacts.
This latest piece of research follows an earlier study this week which warned that those who live to closer routes have a greater risk of developing dementia. Other studies say that pollution from traffic increases the changes of developing heart disease and asthma.
NICE, the NHS watchdog is now leading calls for action to be taken as a matter of urgency to deal with the issue. NICE says that air pollution is a factor in five per cent of deaths in England every year. However, despite all of that evidence, 37 citites across the country are often found to be recording levels of air toxins above those set by Europe.
Around six per cent of pregnant women are affected by pre-eclampsia every year. In the worst cases, it can even lead to still births or maternal fatalities. These latest results could explain why the incidence of pre-eclampsia has increased in many countries recently, said study leader Professor Marie Pedersen, of the University of Copenhagen. The research team found that when traffic noise doubled, there was an increase of 10 per cent in the incidence of pre-eclampsia. For every tiny increase in air pollution, the risk increased by seven per cent.