Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions may increase the risk of global iron deficiency

Iron deficiency reduces capacity for physical activity, lowers IQ, and increases maternal and child mortality, impacting roughly a billion people worldwide. Recent studies have shown that certain highly consumed crops — C3 grains (e.g., wheat, rice, barley), legumes and maize — have lower iron concentrations of 4-10% when grown under increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations (550 ppm). We examined diets in 152 countries globally (95.5% of the population) to estimate the percentage of lost dietary iron resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions between now and 2050, specifically among vulnerable age-sex groups: children (1-5 years) and women of childbearing age (15-49 years), holding diets constant. We also cross-referenced these with the current prevalence of anemia to identify most at-risk countries.

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