Pollution from high traffic raises asthma risk for children

13:05, April 10, 2010      

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Children who attend schools near high traffic face greater risk of asthma, U.S. researchers suggest in a new study.

The conclusion was based on statistics about children's health in Southern California communities, according to the study conducted by researchers at University of Southern California (USC) .

The researchers examined a previous study of kindergartners and first-grade students who initially didn't have asthma.

In that study, researchers followed-up with the children for three years and examined traffic around their schools and homes. The investigators also monitored air pollution levels around the 13 communities that were studied.

Of the 2,497 students examined, 120 developed asthma.

The study concluded that those who attend schools near high- traffic areas are 45 percent more likely to develop asthma, although the number of students in the study who developed asthma was small.

"Exposure to pollution at locations other than home, especially where children spend a large portion of their day and may engage in physical activity, appears to influence asthma risk," Dr. Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said in a news release on Friday.

"It's important to understand how these micro-environments where children spent a lot of their time outside of the home are impacting their health," McConnell said. "Policies that reduce exposure to high-traffic environments may help to prevent this disease."

The study was published in the latest issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Source: Xinhua

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