Traffic pollution linked to new cases of asthma
An eight-year study has found childhood asthma rates could increase as much as 30% with the exposure to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution. The study followed 217 non-asthmatic children from a wide area of Southern California. Home air monitors allowed scientists to compare the children’s exposure to air pollution and newly-diagnosed cases of asthma. It was found that higher amounts of nitrogen dioxide, a constituent of smog, are associated with the development of childhood asthma.
Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study is the latest to come from the Southern California Children’s Health Study, a project pioneered by the California Air Resources Board in the early 1990s. This, the most extensive investigation into air pollution’s impact on the young, has provided data that resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed articles with several groundbreaking results.
One of these studies found that children exercising on days with high ozone concentrations also had an increased likelihood of developing asthma. “Good air quality is fundamental to good health,” said Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols. “Recent studies have shown that the reduction of air pollution is also economically beneficial. It diminishes the costs associated with lost work and school days, medications to address illnesses, hospital visits and smog-related premature deaths.”