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How Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality Affects Expecting Mothers

By July 19, 2019 May 4th, 2020 No Comments
11–13 minutes to read

A recent study on air filtration and maternal health shows how outdoor and indoor air quality affects expecting mothers. Learn how air purifiers and high efficiency air filters can help keep them safe.

By now everyone knows that poor air quality is associated with a host of health problems involving the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Air pollution exposure is known to cause asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and even lung cancer, making air filters an important tool in parts of the country with bad air quality. Its effects are particularly dangerous to at-risk segments of the population including children, the elderly, individuals with existing health conditions, and pregnant women. 

In fact, a recent study by a team of researchers from the University of Utah has linked air pollution exposure to a higher risk of pregnancy loss. More specifically, the study concluded that short-term exposure to elevated levels of air pollution was linked to a higher risk of spontaneous pregnancy loss.

According to Matthew Fuller, the paper’s senior author and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Utah, the study’s findings highlight the harmful effects of air pollution that everyone isn’t just exposed to, but also contributes to. He added that air pollution can only be solved if everyone comes together to make sacrifices. 

The University of Utah study, however, is not the first to find associations between air pollution and miscarriages.

“Experts have suspected for some time that exposure to common air pollutants like ozone, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulate matter may increase the risk of pregnancy loss,” points out Camfil USA’s Charlie Seyffer, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials for commercial air filters and 37-year ASHRAE member and active committee participant. “A 2017 study by the National Institutes of Health found that smog may be a contributing factor to early pregnancy loss.”

Finding the Connections Between Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality and Maternal Health

Professor Fuller notes that his interest in how outdoor and indoor air quality affects expecting mothers was spurred after noticing a possible link between air pollution and miscarriages in his personal and work life. 

Specifically, he had a number of close family members who lost a pregnancy after experiencing a particularly bad air quality event. And in the emergency department, he also saw more women suffering miscarriages in the first few weeks of their pregnancy during and shortly after periods of poor outdoor air quality. 

True enough, Fuller and his fellow researchers may be on to something, as their research found a 16 percent increase in risk for miscarriage among women exposed to nitrogen dioxide levels that exceeded the government’s recommended limit over a seven-day period.

The study’s results are particularly concerning for residents in Utah, which suffers from severe periods of air pollution. Poor air quality can be common during the winter, when cool, pollution-laden air is trapped at ground level by a layer of warm air high in the atmosphere—a phenomenon known as an atmospheric inversion. It just so happens that Utah’s topography is prone to such atmospheric events.

“These findings are not unique to Utah,” notes Seyffer. “Air pollution is a public health crisis and environmental issue that affects everyone across the globe, both in developing and developed nations.”

Utah’s Pollution Sources Emphasize Importance of Home Air Purifiers

Unsurprisingly, the majority of Utah’s air pollution emissions are generated by mobile sources of pollution—these include cars, trucks, motorbikes, and aircraft. According to local officials, 53 percent of emissions come from mobile sources, 34 percent comes from area sources like homes and buildings, and at least 10 percent comes from point sources like mines, power plants, factories, and other industrial facilities. Fortunately, the pollutants generated by these sources can be captured and removed by high-quality air purifiers

Still, it’s clear that there is a need for everyone in Utah to do their part to mitigate air pollution, especially events caused by inversions. According to Thom Carter, Executive Director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR), people shouldn’t just be mindful of the state’s air quality, they should make better choices to reduce their impact on the environment.

For example, the air outside may appear to be clean after a big snowstorm, which can give people the excuse to not be mindful of their personal air pollution emissions. But when a high-pressure system moves in after a snowstorm, this can cause an inversion that causes air pollution to build up in a concentrated area.

Carter also urged people to be mindful about how they use their cars, adding that residents should consider carpooling, consolidating trips or using public transport more often. He added that even the simple act of not idling your car when waiting to pick someone up or waiting at the drive-thru can go a long way to reducing your personal emissions.

List of Reasons to Install High Efficiency Filtration Systems Grows

What’s clear, however, is that this study linking air pollution and an increased risk for a miscarriage adds to the growing list of reasons to install air purifiers or high efficiency filtration systems at home. Whether it concerns children, expecting mothers, or senior citizens, installing an air purifier will ensure that everyone can breathe in safe and clean air. 

Air filtration systems also address the fact that air pollution also comes from sources inside. These include activities such as heating, lighting, and cooking, as well as common chemical cleaners and disinfectants, which release toxic fumes into the air. While ventilating a building is the ideal solution to prevent indoor air pollution from building up to dangerous levels, this is simply not a realistic option in places with bad outdoor air quality, hence the importance of keeping doors and windows shut and using an air purifier. 

IVF Parents See Benefits of High Efficiency Filtration

Women having a difficult time conceiving may want to consider in-vitro fertilization (IVF) facilities that use air filtration to increase their probability of success. Multiple studies have shown that high efficiency filtration increases pregnancy probability significantly. 

Go for Quality When Choosing Air Purification Systems

If you are considering installing air purification systems in your home or building, be sure to choose high-quality systems from reliable air filter manufacturers or distributors. Unfortunately, the increased interest in air filters for industrial and commercial use has led to a rise of unscrupulous companies creating “budget” air filter systems, which either break down after a few months or don’t work as advertised.  

At Camfil USA, we take pride in our commitment to helping home and building owners solve their air quality problems with our air filter solutions  Talk to our team to learn more about how you can improve the indoor air quality in your indoor spaces with our high efficiency air filters. You may also explore our catalog of air filters to learn more about our products or browse our clean air solution topics.




Lynne Laake 

Camfil USA Air Filters 

T: 888.599.6620 


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