Almost 40% of cases of childhood asthma are related to pollution

Many are the health problems that a child faces during its development. Some are avoidable, others end up appearing with the passage of time. It is the case of childhood asthma, a respiratory problem that can greatly alter the lives of the smallest of the house. In these situations, finding the reasons that cause these conditions is paramount to try to prevent them as much as possible.

In the case of childhood asthma, a new study from the Institute of Global Health of Barcelona, ​​ISS Global, together with the Institute for Transport Studies of Leeds, shows that there is a close relationship between this respiratory affection and the exposure of children to pollution.

Pollution and asthma

This study, published in Environment International, compiled the results of other works related to traffic, emissions, atmospheric dispersion and health impact study in the English city of Bradford. In this way the researchers were able to determine the impact, from the sources of air pollution to the roads through which this impacts the health of children.

The results indicate that up to 38% of all annual cases of childhood asthma in Bradford can be attributed to air pollution. In particular, it was shown that 12% of cases The annual occurrence of these respiratory conditions could be related to the poor quality of the environment caused by traffic.

"However, we knew that our model was underestimating the air pollution fraction from traffic, and when we adjusted our results using real measurements of air pollutants we saw that up to 24% of the annual cases could be attributed to air pollution related to the air. traffic ", explains Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, director of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative of ISGlobal.

Nieuwenhuijsen adds that "cases of childhood asthma have increased steadily since the decade of 1950. Future progress with childhood asthma requires an approach that is not limited to controlling and treating the disease and towards prevention, starting with the reduction of air pollution related to traffic. "

Other effects of pollution

This study is not the first one that reflects the consequences of pollution in the smallest. From the World Health Organization, WHO, the following also stand out:

- 570,000 children under the age of five die as a result of respiratory infections (including pneumonias) caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution and exposure to second-hand smoke.

- 361,000 children under the age of five die from diarrheal diseases due to insufficient access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

- 270,000 children die within the first month after childbirth for various reasons -including prematurity- that could be prevented by providing access to drinking water and sanitation and hygiene facilities in health centers, and reducing air pollution.

- 200 000 deaths due to malaria in children under five could be prevented by acting on the environment, for example, by reducing the number of mosquito breeding sites or by covering water reservoirs.

- 200,000 children under the age of five die from injuries or involuntary injuries related to the environment, such as poisoning, falls and drowning.

Damián Montero

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