Seventeen million babies under the age of one are breathing toxic air, putting their brain development at risk, the UN children’s agency has warned.
Babies in South Asia are worst affected, with more than 12 million living in areas with pollution six times higher than safe levels. A further four million are at risk in East Asia and the Pacific.
Unicef said breathing particulate air pollution could damage brain tissue and undermine cognitive development.
Its report said there is a link to verbal and non-verbal IQ and memory, reduced test scores, grade point averages among school children, as well as other neurological behavioural problems.