November 10, 2013
(TeleManagement) Exposure to air pollution from vehicle emissions and fossil fuels can reduce children’s lung development, according to a Children’s Health Study.
The study suggests children who live in polluted communities are five times more likely to have clinically low lung function.
Commenting on the study, researchers said, “It shows that current levels of air pollution have adverse effects on lung development in children between the ages of 10 and 18.”
Researchers followed 1,759 children from age 10 to age 18 and performed lung function tests each year. The researchers also collected data on levels of air pollutants in the 12 Southern California communities where the children lived.
They found children living in the communities with the highest levels of pollution had significant reductions in their “forced expiratory volume,” or the volume of air they could exhale after taking a deep breath.
“The potential long-term effects of reduced lung function are alarming,” researchers said.
Researchers also said when lung function decreases, the risk of developing respiratory disease and experiencing a heart attack increases.
The researchers are not sure how pollution retards lung dev elopement, but they believe pollutants that irritate the lungs, causing may play a role.