Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, September 2018, Volume 1, #26
Rapid urbanisation has led to the generation of high concentrations of particulate matters, nitrogen oxides, organic compounds, and several other harmful pollutants in the outdoor environment. As a result, vulnerable people, such as pregnant women, are advised to stay in an indoor environment. Unfortunately, these pollutants find their way indoors and increase the vulnerability of pregnant women. Lack of electricity, poor building design, construction, operation and maintenance in most developing countries increase the build-up of these pollutants and vulnerability of pregnant women. In rural areas, burning of solid fuelwood, charcoal, wheat, etc. – for cooking also generate these pollutants of concern. The daily cooking by pregnant women in such an environment increases their exposure and intake vulnerability.
Unfortunately, the health effects of the pollutants are not limited to the pregnant women. There are several studies in the literature associating the prolonged exposure of pregnant women to high levels of the pollutants to miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), low birth weight, respiratory diseases, and birth defects. Thus, the foetuses inheritance of the inhaled pollutants from their pregnant mothers could cause them to have lifelong health problems.
What can policymakers and built environment professionals learn from the principles of sustainable building engineering in order to reduce pregnant women exposed to an intake of the pollutants in urban and rural areas? These principles are respect for the wisdom of the natural system, people, place, cycle of life, energy and natural resources, and process.
Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Deng et al. (2016), Lacasana et al. (2005), and Pope et al. (2010) papers.