The study found an association between a mother's exposure during early pregnancy to particulate matter (PM) air pollution, specifically PM10 and PM2.5, and an increasing trend in CLP cases. Several hotspots were found in multiple district municipalities across five provinces in South Africa, where air pollution from sources such as coal-fired power stations, traffic, domestic fuel burning, and mining is high.
The research highlights the need for more stringent air quality management and for providing information to mothers about the risks of air pollution to their unborn children. CLP can cause physical and psychosocial difficulties, including speech impediments and nutritional problems, and patients with CLP have a higher risk of mortality.
The government of South Africa has identified regions in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces, as well as the Vaal Triangle area (encompassing parts of Gauteng and Northern Free State), as having poor air quality. According to IQAir, fhe following are worst affected air pollution hotspots in the country:
- Sasolburg, Free State
- Ga-Rankuwa, North-West
- Eastleigh, Gauteng
- Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng
- Middelburg, Mpumalanga
- Vereeniging, Gauteng
- Meyerton, Gauteng
- Springs, Gauteng
The provinces of Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, and North-West had the highest average annual concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10, respectively, when compared to other provinces in the country.
Read the original research paper at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36743286/.