Wednesday, February 16, 2005

NYTimes: Pollution Is Linked to Fetal Harm

A year ago I read a book, Having Faith, written by an Ecologist who became pregnant and realized she had become an ecosystem herself. She decided to study herself and her pregnancy from an ecological viewpoint concerning the inner ecosystem occurring within her womb. The sole occupant of that ecosystem? Her child, later to be named Faith

The book details studies from around the world showing effects of pollution in the environment, how various pollutants can cross the blood barrier and enter the womb. The blood barrier is part of the fetal sack, and is supposed to protect the fetus from poisions or diseases through ensuring that only certain things cross from the mothers blood system to the fetus.

However, humans with their ingenuity have come up with whole ranges of chemicals that can cross that barrier. The evolutionary process that created our bodies took millions of years, and the hundred or so years of modern technological might happened much too quickly for evolution to create better filtering techniques. Hence, our biology doesn't know how to reject the environmental pollution plaguing us.

Pollution Is Linked to Fetal Harm (By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS; Published: February 16, 2005; NYTIMES.COM) This article details one study performed at Columbia University in New York City. It centered on non-smoking pregnant women and their children, and showed an increase in persistent genetic abnormalities. The women lived primarily in Harlem and The Bronx.

"We already knew that air pollutants significantly reduced fetal growth, but this is the first time we've seen evidence that they can change chromosomes in utero," Dr. Perera said, adding that the kind of genetic changes that occurred had been linked in other studies to increased risk of cancer.
- said the study's senior author, Dr. Frederica P. Perera, director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health.

I ask every reader of this article to look at the stickers on the gasoline pump the next time you fill up. Ever see the one that warns that the product sold through that pump is known to cause cancer and other serious diseases?

I also invite you to visit my electric vehicles content for information on non-polluting vehicles. Electric vehicles are the only way to have the vehicles be zero pollution, though the electricity does come from somewhere and the actual pollution effect depends on the electrical power plant in your area. Note that a hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle is, in the end, an electric vehicle, it's just using a hydrogen tank to store the power rather than a battery pack. Also, the hybrid vehicles that are all the rage right now, are not much of a solution, since every electron driving the electric half of the car comes from gasoline.