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Birth defects could be tied to air pollution

Air pollution is a growing problem in the U.S. - more than 4 in 10 people around the nation live in regions with unhealthful levels of ozone or particle pollution, the American Lung Association reports. Even though scientists are continuing to look for ways to prevent such exposure, a new study might encourage experts to kick finding a solution into high gear.

The recent study, published in "The American Journal of Epidemiology," used two large trials to look for incidents of birth defects and levels of air pollution among kids born in eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley in California. One study tracked all birth defects since 1997, while the other featured records of levels of nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and other air pollution components at 20 locations since 1970.

From the data, scientists discovered there were 849 cases of birth defects after they adjusted for issues like smoking or drinking during pregnancy. Researchers then compared these children with 853 healthy control kids. Looking closer, it was found that women who lived in areas with the highest levels of carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide were twice as likely to deliver a baby with certain birth defects in comparison to mothers living in areas with the lowest concentrations. 

Even though the data is alarming, scientists are quick to point out that much more research needs to be conducted to verify the results. However, parents can still take added measures to protect their children now by installing a medical-grade air purifier like the Airgle PurePal AG800 to ensure loved ones breathe easy at home.

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