Ambient Black Carbon Particles Can Cross the Placenta

A new study, published in the Nature Communications, finds that black carbon particles can get into the part of the placenta that feeds the developing fetus.Ambient Black Carbon Particles Can Cross the Placenta

To check the influence of the soot, a team of researchers examined placentas from 5 pre-term and 23 full-term births. With the help of high-resolution imaging, the scientists detected particles of black carbon in the fetal side of every placenta taken for examination.

Of all the participants, 10 mothers who lived in high traffic areas and were exposed to the highest levels of pollution during pregnancy had the highest levels of particles in the placenta.

The scientists write in their paper: “Our results demonstrate that the human placental barrier is not impenetrable for particles. Further research will have to show whether the particles cross the placenta and reach the fetus.”

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