Exposure to air pollution permanently stunts the growth of children's lungs, according to a 6-year study of 2,400 youth in London. The results of this study follow other major health concerns about polluted air, including U.S. research earlier this year that indicated that air pollution could increase the risk of brain damage and small strokes which are linked to dementia. "Those living in areas with high levels of particulates and nitrogen dioxide had up to 10 percent reduced lung capacity" said Prof. Chris Griffiths, principal investigator of the study. London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was created in 2008 to discourage larger diesel vehicles from entering the capital, but this hasn't seemed to make a difference, discouraging public health advocates who worked toward implementing that program. The study results therefore beg the question: If local zone regulations don't help ameliorate air pollution problems, what can health care providers do to improve the air quality of urban areas? ecoAmerica's report, American Climate Values 2014: Psychographic and Demographic Insights, focuses on the visible and local impacts of climate change. We hope you'll take a look at this report. If you're interested in joining forces with other health care professionals who are leading on climate, you can also join Climate for Health.
By Laura Donnelly I October 25, 2015
High levels of air pollution are stunting the growth of children’s lungs, a major study has found.
Eight and nine-year-olds living in cities with high levels of fumes from diesel cars have up to 10 per cent les lung capacity than normal, the research suggests.
Over six years, researchers examined the lung function of 2,400 children at 25 schools across east London, and found a direct correlation between air pollutant exposure and reduced lung growth.
Such children have an increased risk of disease such as asthma and bronchitis and, and the prospect of a permanent reduction in lung capacity.
The tests checked the volume of air each child could breathe, as well as levels of inflammation in their lungs, with urine tests to check for heavy metals, which are produced by vehicles.
Overall, those living in areas with high levels of particulates and nitrogen dioxide had up to 10 per cent reduced lung capacity the study led by Prof Chris Griffiths, principal investigator at the Medical Research Council and Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma.
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