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This study by the The Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York identifies maternal fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure as a possible risk factor contributing to preterm birth. The aim of this study was to produce the first estimates of ambient PM2.5 - associated preterm births for 183 individual countries and globally.
It finds that in 2010, about 2.7 million preterm births globally – or 18% of all pre-term births – were associated with outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5 is especially harmful to human health, as it can penetrate deep inside the lungs).