fbpx

One third of childhood asthma cases in Europe linked to air pollution

-

Ever wondered if passing all those gas-guzzlers on the way to kindergarten has anything to do with your kid’s coughing? A recent research project suggests you’re right.

A team of scientists at Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) have studied links between childhood asthma and air pollution in Europe. It’s not exactly a micro-study in a Naples neighborhood: 64 million kids in 18 European countries are included. Their conclusion? One-third of asthma cases among European kids are linked to bad air quality.

You probably know this but asthma is a chronic inflammation. The airways between your nose and mouth and your lungs swell, and the muscles in and around those airways tighten. That can cause coughing, it can be difficult to breathe both in and out, and you can get chest pains.

The researchers have matched levels of outdoor air pollution (particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and soot) in 18 European countries with childhood asthma cases, and concluded that 66 600 childhood asthma cases could have been avoided – every year – if those countries had followed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) thresholds for particulate matter.

Only Western European countries were included in the study, as Eastern European countries lacked air pollution exposure data. My guess is lack of data does not mean lack of air pollution or asthma…

We urgently need to reduce children’s exposure to air pollution, according to the researchers. There’s always the option to sit back and wait for politicians or the neighbor to do something about it. Alternatively, next time you walk to kindergarten, head off from the main road and walk through a quiet street instead (no, I’m not mentioning that path through the park, I’ll let you figure out that one yourself).

(Kids aged 1 to 14 are covered by the study; my almost-13-year-old would have objected strongly against being called a child, just as she will probably protest if dare tell her to follow the researchers’ advise; I might tell her to bike to school as close to the morning traffic as possible, to see what kind of response that dose receives…). 

Stay updated!

We keep your data private.

Airmine app

Track your symptoms to air pollution and pollen & get local air quality forecasts

Get it on Google Play

Latest

Smoke from west? No, dust from east

Did the huge forest fires on the US West Coast in September impact air quality in Europe? Not really, the measurements show. What did have an impact, was dust transported by winds from south east.

Better air in Beijing than San Francisco

Last week, you'd rather breathe Delhi air than take a stroll in San Francisco. Smoke and ashes from the huge forest make air quality on the US West Coast the worst in the world.

Air pollution shortens more lives than smoking, drugs and malaria

Although we are in the midst of a global pandemic, air pollution remains the single major contributor to loss in life expectancy across the globe.

Has air quality improved during lockdowns?

Delhi has had much cleaner air during the Covid-19 lockdowns, whereas we do not find the same improvement in PM2.5 levels in Oslo, Norway.

Birch pollen – how did it develop?

The birch season is over for this year - we have dived into our data and created a visualisation of how it developed in Europe.

Birch pollen high in France and Austria – onset further north delayed

Due to warm weather, the birch pollen has increased rapidly in Southern France and Austria the last days. Low temperatures are likely to delay the onset of birch pollen further north.

Vaccine pills for birch pollen

Vaccine pills for birch pollen allergy become...