Pregnant women living in dust-filled areas have an increased risk of going into early labor.
Researchers from Kyung Hee University Hospital and the National Cancer Center analyzed the births of one.seven million newborns from 2010 to 2013.
They found mothers within the first 37 weeks of pregnancy who lived in dusty areas of Korea were one.five times more likely to give birth prematurely
For women in their first 32 weeks of pregnancy were twice as likely to go into early labor.
Those residing in areas where the average fine dust density exceeds 70 micrograms per cubic meter, had a seven.four percent chance of giving birth before their baby's due date.
On the other hand, women living in less polluted areas had a four.seven percent chance of going into premature labor
Researchers say there's a clear correlation between fine dust levels and premature births, stressing the need for further studies.
On Monday, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said at a parliamentary session that some 2.8 million U.S. dollars will be allotted to research on how exposure to fine dust impacts human health.
"Until now, much of the focus has been on fine dust reduction technologies, but starting this year, we are conducting research on how fine dust affects socially vulnerable people, infants, the elderly, pregnant women and chronically ill patients. We aim to come up with scientific grounds for minimizing illnesses and damage to health caused by fine dust."
Joining hands with public and private institutions, the five-year research initiative will aim to identify channels of exposure and how to reduce their impact.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.