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There is much focus on child nutrition during the first 1,000 days and with good reason: children with good nutrition are ten times more likely to overcome life-threatening childhood diseases and complete at least four grades at school. However, what few know is that access to clean air, or lack of it, is fundamental to a child’s development, both physical and cognitive.
The first 1,000 days from conception to age two are critical to every child. In this span of time, the immune system develops. A child’s brain connects about 1,000 neurons per second building intricate pathways for messages to travel onward through the body. A look at a two year olds brain shows that it is twice as active as an adult’s brain building bridges to connect the nerve cells in the brain for future use. The ability to process images (vision), sound (hearing) and to recognise and remember language and images like the faces, are all developed during a child’s first 1,000 days.
With rising levels of air pollution indoors and outdoors, children are increasingly at risk. Miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and illnesses such as asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases can all be linked to air pollution. Young children and pregnant women also spend increasingly more time indoors, where the air is up to five times more polluted.
More than two-thirds of parents in China, India, South Korea and the US think that an air purifier is beneficial for raising a healthy child according to recent research by independent UK based research firm YouGov. By removing common allergens like dust, mites, bacteria and virus, and household pollutants such as chemicals from paint, furniture, clothing and cleaning detergents, in addition to car exhausts, smoke, soot entering our homes through windows and ventilation, air purifiers can ensure a healthy indoor air for pregnant women and young children.
Email from Sara Alsén, chief purpose officer of Blueair, one of the world’s leading producers of air purification solutions founded in Sweden.