A new study has revealed that inner-city kids with asthma experience adverse health effects from air pollutants even when air pollution levels are within the current air quality standards.
The findings are based on a study, which analysed the short-term effects of outdoor pollution levels on asthma symptoms and lung function in children.
For the study, researchers used data from the NIAID Inner-City Asthma Study (ICAS) and examined 861 kids with persistent asthma, aged 5 to 12 years, living in low-income areas in seven U.S. inner-city communities.
For two years, the researchers monitored the kids' asthma symptoms, breathing function, school absences, and obtained daily outdoor pollution measurements from the EPA's Aerometric Information Retrieval System on a regular basis.
Every six months, researchers tested lung function twice daily over a two-week period. They also asked the kids' parents for their observations of their children's symptoms.
Following the analysis, researchers found that children had significantly decreased lung function following exposure to higher concentrations of the air pollutants sulfur dioxide, airborne fine particles, and nitrogen dioxide.
They also found that higher nitrogen dioxide levels and higher levels of fine particles also were associated with school absences related to asthma, and higher nitrogen dioxide levels were associated with more asthma symptoms.
Since nitrogen dioxide is derived mainly from motor vehicle exhaust, the study provides evidence that car emissions might be causing adverse respiratory health effects in these urban children who have asthma.
Researchers report that inner-city children with asthma experience adverse health effects from air pollutants even when air pollution levels are within the current air quality standards of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The findings of the study raise questions about the current air quality standards and suggest that part of overall asthma management for children living in inner cities may need to include efforts to reduce exposure to air pollutants.