Environmental Defense Statement on Pediatrics Journal Study

January 3, 2005
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Today the journal Pediatrics released a study showing an association between pre-natal exposure to fine particle pollution and lowered birth weight.  Environmental Defense praised the study and noted that it adds to a growing body of literature from the U.S. and abroad that shows similar consequences of fine particle pollution on developing fetuses.

"This study is striking because the negative effects on the fetuses resulted from fine particle pollution levels that are the same as what we have today in many areas of the country," said Dr. John Balbus, M.D., health program director, Environmental Defense.  "The study shows that fine particle pollution doesn't just harm people who already have heart or lung disease, but it can even reach children in the womb.  Improved infant health is just one more benefit that will come with serious efforts to reduce fine particle pollution."

Mobile sources, especially diesel engines, contribute the greatest fraction of man-made fine particle pollution in California and other western states.  In the eastern half of the county, coal-fired power plants are a dominant source of man-made fine particle pollution.  Environmental Defense called for the Bush administration to put into place standards that cut the harmful pollution from power plant smokestacks.