A study finds that the children who lived close to main roads had a significant decrease in lung function. The study findings were published online by 'The Lancet' medical journal.
The U.S. researchers said on Friday that the young people, from age of 10-18, growing up near the roadways (within 500 metres of a major road) suffer significant damage to their lungs from exhaust fumes. Traffic pollution prevents the lungs from developing properly, making the children to suffer respiratory and heart problems later in life.
The study, conducted at the University of Southern California, is the latest to show that air pollution increases the risk of respiratory disease. In this study, the scientists measured the lung function of 3,677 children from the ages of 10 to 18 and found that even healthy children who did not smoke suffered ill effects. The effect was found to be greater in boys than in girls.
The study reported that the breathing is not as deep or vigorous and their lungs do not develop to the same degree in those who live near, when compared with those who live at least 1,500 metres away, putting them at greater risk from asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and weakens their sporting ability.
James Gauderman, the lead author of the study, said: "Since lung development is nearly complete by age 18 years, an individual with a deficit at this time will probably continue to have less than healthy lung function for the rest of his or her life."