Some 300 million of the kids on planet Earth are breathing dangerously polluted air into their developing lungs, UNICEF reported Monday, with some 220 million of those living in South Asia. The former number represents one in seven kids who live in areas with high outdoor pollution, notes Reuters, and the results are devastating: Air pollution is a "major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year," says UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.
"Pollutants don't only harm children's developing lungs—they can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains—and, thus, their futures," he adds. UNICEF wants some 200 nations, which meet beginning next week, to dial back on fossil fuels with the aim of improving air quality and slowing climate change. The UNICEF report is here.