Air Monitoring

Main roads are a main cause of asthma in children

Sep 26 2012 Read 1403 Times

Studies from the University of South Carolina reveal that at least eight per cent of the cases of childhood asthma can be attributed to traffic-related pollution where they live.

Exposure to air pollution from a main road increases the likelihood of children developing severe asthma, or being hospitalized by the illness.

The results come as a nasty surprise to doctors and academics, who had not previously estimated the severity of air pollution.

"Our findings suggest that there are large and previously unappreciated public health consequences of air pollution", said Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Research was conducted in Los Angeles, where results found that living within a 75-metre radius of a main road was enough to contribute negatively to a child's health.

Asthma is not the only problem that children and adults may face by living in close proximity of a main road.

"There is also emerging evidence that other diseases may be caused or exacerbated by urban air pollution, including atherosclerosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and neurological disorders," Mr McConnell added.

Because of the potential threat main roads pose, the university examined potential solutions to the problem of greenhouse emissions - attempting to find ways to stop climate change.

More information is needed before the researchers can reach a definite solution.

Combating climate change could have health benefits stretching above and beyond the burden of asthma, the academics believe.

Car sharing and walking is beneficial for both exercise and reduction of gas emissions.

"Plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change offer an opportunity to develop 'win-win' strategies that will maximize the health benefits from reduction both of greenhouse gases and of air pollutants that directly harm children," Mr McConnell said.

Currently 5.4 million people in the UK are living with asthma, over a million of who are children.

Posted by Lauren Steadman

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