Giving Compass’ Take:
• Researchers created a mapping tool to analyze how US air pollution from traffic impacts childhood asthma cases.
• The studies found that childhood asthma cases decreased on average by 33 percent between 2000 and 2010. However, 18 percent of all childhood asthma cases are still caused by traffic-related air pollution.
• Read more about childhood asthma as it relates to cities’ traffic pollution.
One major environmental factor that might contribute to the development of asthma is air pollution from traffic. In our study, published on April 3, our team mapped where in the U.S. children are most at risk for developing asthma from this type of pollution.
A much larger meta-analysis in 2017, which focused on children and included more recently published studies, found consistent connections between this type of pollution and childhood asthma development. The researchers concluded that there is now sufficient evidence showing a relationship between this type of pollution and the onset of childhood asthma.
My research team wanted to quantify the connection between exposure to traffic pollution and the onset of childhood asthma across 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. We also wanted to make these data open to the public.
Our analysis found that childhood asthma cases attributable to traffic pollution across the U.S. decreased, on average, by 33% between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, we estimated that 209,100 childhood asthma cases could be attributed to traffic pollution, while this number dropped to 141,900 cases in 2010. That’s a major win for public health.
Despite this encouraging decrease in air pollution and its associated health burden, there were 141,900 childhood asthma cases due to traffic-related air pollution in the U.S. That’s 18% of all childhood asthma cases.
Our estimates underline an urgent need to reduce children’s exposure to air pollution. We hope that our analyses and heat maps will better inform policymakers, transportation agencies, medical associations and anyone else interested in learning more about the burden of childhood asthma due to air pollution.
Read the full article about mapping the worst air pollution for childhood asthma by Haneen Khreis at The Conversation.
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