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Noise and pollution raises risk to pregnant women  

7 January 2017, 7:00:33

Health Desk: Experts recently have found that expectant mothers living close to busy roads are at greater risk of serious complications in pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia – a condition suffered by 42,000 pregnant women in Britain each year – is made more likely by noise and pollution from roads, according to a large study.

Researchers believe the toxins from vehicles and sound of traffic from nearby roads may increase stress levels and cause inflammation that leads to rising blood pressure associated with the condition.

The Danish study of 73,000 women – the first to establish a link between traffic and pre-eclampsia – adds to growing concerns about the health impact of air and noise pollution.

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Earlier this week a separate study published in the Lancet medical journal warned people who live near roads are also at significantly higher risk of developing dementia.

Those concerns add to established evidence that traffic fumes increase the risk of heart disease and asthma.

NHS watchdog NICE last month called for urgent action to tackle the problem, warning that air pollution contributes towards 25,000 deaths a year in England – almost 5 per cent of all deaths.

Despite overwhelming evidence of health inpacts, the UK has struggled to control air pollution, with 37 cities across Britain persistently breaching legal limits of air toxins set by the EU.

Pre-eclampsia affects around 6 per cent of pregnancies in the UK – and in severe cases can lead to stillbirth or maternal death.

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