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New York (dpa) - Women who were in or near the World Trade Center when it was attacked by terrorists two years ago have given birth to smaller babies, said a study published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study by researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found that the women bore babies smaller than those of mothers in other parts of New York City on September 11, 2001. All the babies were at weights in the bottom 10 per cent for their gestational age.
Researchers suggested that air pollution from pulverized and smoldering construction materials was the most likely cause of the differences in the size of the babies.
But New York health officials said the study "found no increase in infant mortality, premature births or low birth weights" and warned that the study has limited implications because it relied on recollections on a small number of women.
A total of 182 women were studied, 12 of whom were pregnant and inside the centre's twin towers on that fateful day.
The study said 8 per cent of babies born to 182 women who were pregnant and were in or near the centre's wreckage were small for the length of their gestation compared with less than 4 per cent of more than 2,300 babies born to women in New York City. Researchers said the condition of those babies is called intrauterine growth restriction, which is caused by pollution.
It said babies born to women who were at or near the centre weighed no less than 2.4 kilograms, which is the threshold for low birth weight used to measure the quality of a pregnancy.
Copyright 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH