Reducing the burden of anaemia in Indian women of reproductive age with clean-air targets

Chaudhary Ekta, Dey Sagnik, Ghosh Santu , Sharma Sumit, Singh Nimish, Agarwal Shivang, Tibrewal Kushal, Venkataraman Chandra, Kurpad Anura V, Cohen Aaron J, Wang Shuxiao & Jain Srishti
Nature Sustainability

India has one of the highest (53%) global prevalences of anaemia among women of reproductive age (WRA, 15–49 years). Long-term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a type of air pollution, may increase the prevalence of anaemia through systemic inflammation. Using a linear mixed model adjusted for potential confounding factors, we show that for every 10 µg m−3 increase in ambient PM2.5 exposure, the average anaemia prevalence among Indian WRA increases by 7.23% (95% uncertainty interval, 6.82–7.63). Among PM2.5 species, sulfate and black carbon are more associated with anaemia than organics and dust. Among sectoral contributors, industry was the greatest, followed by the unorganized, domestic, power, road dust, agricultural waste burning and transport sectors. If India meets its recent clean-air targets, such anaemia prevalence among WRA will fall from 53% to 39.5%, taking 186 districts below the national target of 35%. Our results suggest that the transition to clean energy would accelerate India’s progress towards the ‘anaemia-free’ mission target.

Reproductive health
Reproductive age
Indian Women
Clean air