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New York City can be a risky place to live, especially if you’re still in the womb. A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that developing fetuses are more vulnerable than their mothers to DNA damage caused by pollution from vehicles, tobacco smoke, commercial fuels and pesticides. The study examined 265 non-smoker African-American and Latina mother-newborn pairs in New York City from 1997 to 2001. “These results raise serious concerns,” said Dr. Frederica Perera, director of Columbia University’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health, who worked on the study. “Fetal susceptibility to DNA damage from air pollution has important implications for cancer risk and developmental problems. It underscores the importance of reducing levels of air pollution in our city.” [08/02/04]

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