• Apr 24th 2009 at 7:33PM
  • 33

Just in case the issues of global warming, energy independence or fuel price volatility were not reasons enough to put away the car keys when possible, consider the fact that we are giving our children asthma. Fact? Yes. According to a new study just published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, childhood asthma could increase by 30 percent with increased exposure to traffic pollution. Of course, there has already been a boat load of work that shows pollution aggravates existing cases, but this new study shows that it can also cause it in children.

Although studies like these can often fly beneath the radar and have no societal impact, this particular flag-raising has not gone unnoticed. Members of California Air Resources Board (CARB) have been presented with this evidence and it should add impetus to efforts by that body to find ways to reduce pollution. Hopefully, they can find more effective means than banning cars of a certain color. Press release after the break.

[Source: California Environmental Protection Agency via Green Car Congress]
Photo: Creative Commons by biofriendly





PRESS RELEASE:

Traffic pollution linked to new cases of asthma
New findings substantiate efforts to reduce smog

SACRAMENTO: Today the California Air Resources Board heard the results of a study that found childhood asthma rates could increase as much as 30 percent with the exposure to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution.

The eight-year study followed 217 non-asthmatic children from a wide area of Southern California. Home air monitors allowed scientists to compare the children's exposure to air pollution and newly diagnosed cases of asthma. It was found that higher amounts of nitrogen dioxide, a constituent of smog, are associated with the development of childhood asthma.

"California's prosperity depends on the choices we make to protect our children," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "This study underlines the need for clean air, giving us the benefits of a fully healthy population."

Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study is the latest to come from the Southern California Children's Health Study, a project pioneered by the Air Resources Board in the early 1990s. This, the most extensive investigation into air pollution's impact on the young, has provided data that resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed articles with several ground breaking results.

One of these studies found that children exercising on days with high ozone concentrations also had an increased likelihood of developing asthma.

"Good air quality is fundamental to good health," added Nichols.

Recent studies have shown that the reduction of air pollution is also economically beneficial. It diminishes the costs associated with lost work and school days, medications to address illnesses, hospital visits and smog-related premature deaths."

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.


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  • 33 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I do not life in California and cannot say for fact how the air is there. However, here in Florida, because it tends to get really hot in the mornings at around six, smog seems to always be present in the air. The study by California Air Resources Board states that this smog is associated with the development of childhood asthma. This is really bad, since at those early morning times, most kids tend to go to their bus stops. If what this article states is true, then the smug can end up having real drastic effects in the development of asthma on younger kids. As stated in the article, it would be wise to stop driving fossil fuel based vehicle and try to also use different forms of fuels for energy all together. These are great ideas. However, they require a lot of time to be adapted by the masses and a lot of money. The best way to start these projects would be to introduce the ideas at organizations such as schools, and work stations. This way the new hydrogen based/ electric based vehicles, and wind/ solar power; whatever tends to be superior, gets used at mass quantities. Moreover, it won’t be necessary for the public to start wasting money on a new vehicle right away. Ultimately, pollution levels will decrease and this whole asthma fiasco can be avoided before increasing thirty percent.
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      Charlie has it right. Kids are getting asthma because parents no longer allow the little ones to eat dirt. It sounds too simple, but that seems to be it! At an early stage it seems to be important to be exposed to environmental allergens. Toddlers in the developed countries are no longer allowed to play in dirt.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Asthma is a prime example of the "boiling frog" hypothesis - put a frog in boiling water: he'll hop right out, but gradually warm him to a boil and he'll just sit there and die. That's how the human race is with asthma.

      As a child in the 1950's and 1960's nobody I knew had asthma.
      Not one single person.

      It is considered a commonplace now to have children sick with and die of asthma. But it was not always like this. It's getting warmer.....and it is getting harder to breathe.

        • 6 Years Ago
        The frog thing is a tired myth.

        http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/frogboil.asp

        Also, I'm skeptical that asthma has increased.

        1) there are more children due to immigration and population growth;

        2) there are fewer cases both absolute and per capita of more urgent diseases such as polio, diphtheria, rickets, cholera, TB, etc., so we can now focus more intently on less serious or more chronic ones;

        I'm especially skeptical that is has increased due to "increased" pollution, because air quality is dramatically better than it was decades ago.

        I still support getting off oil ASAP for national security and economic as well as environmental reasons, but let's do so for real reasons.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I remember a study some years back that linked consumption of tomatoes to higher risk of cancer. Now, it's obvious that air pollution represents a health risk at some level, but one has to be careful not to take the results of a single study as undisputed fact. Did the study take into account other environmental factors? What about water quality, or diet and exercise? Perhaps our kids are turning up with increased incidence of asthma because they sit on their duffs in front of the television or the Wii eating processed foods and drinking carbonated sugar water, instead of going outside to exercise their minds and bodies.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh Sir Captain, I wanted to respond to this before anybody else. Yes, although one cannot rule our the pollution aspect (which by all means we should and must consider) the lack of good diet would be the main concern. When we were younger, and fast food wasn't so fast, asthma wasn't so prevalent. This lack of personal skills and therefore a lack of knowledge for personal care has caused a huge increase in bad personal health. Vegetables, as I was reading in a recent article to which i cannot remember where, showed a link between lack of vegetables in a routine diet to high occurrence of asthma. You can scream all you like, but I've been asking the relevance of this to all my friends and their diet since childhood, and it seems to coincide. I think there's more to it than pollution.
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not buying it. I don't believe it. Any atmospheric contamination may make asthma sufferers worse, but it is not likely the cause. Sorry. just more BS from the left. Would the last business to leave California please turn out the lights?
        harlanx6
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        I almost fell for that one!
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        I agree. Now it has stooped to the "But, it's for the children!!!" level of propaganda and justifications. With all the hysteria over CO2 that has been parroted by the usual suspects here, I hope they don't find out about Dihydrogen Monoxide!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Any research worth it's salt goes to great pains to design the study to rule out as many other factors as possible. We'd have to know some details of the actual study to know for sure.

      That said, I don't know why this outcome would come as a suprise to anyone. Every summer many cities have ozone alert days where high pollution levels, combined with intense UV, creates unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone. The warnings always recommend that young children, elderly folks, and anybody with a respiratory condition minimize outdoor activity buring the peak pollution/ozone times.

      More traffic pollution leading to more respiratory issues is not a big stretch.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Sure > Emissions exacerbate Asthma.

      But > If YOU have Allergic ASTHMA ...

      > And are NOT Neutralizing YOUR Enviro / InHalant > Allergy Blood Test Identified > Geo-Regional Offending Seasonal & Year-round Alergens > with Primary Care Physician-Based Immuno-ALLERGY DROPs > Which have been CUSTOM Formulated to specifically Neutralize the SOURCE of What YOU Are Allergic TO Based on YOUR Allergy Test ....

      Is Like ....

      Trying to Put an Allergic ASTHMA Attack / Gasoline FIRE Out > But the Offending Allergic ASTHMA Enviro TRIGGERs / Gasoline Hose > Is Still Pumping Offending Trigger Allergens / Gas !

      STOP !
      Medicating YOUR Symptoms > While the Progression of Your Allergy Disease / Allergic ASTHMA Only Exacerbates !

      Neutralize the SOURCE of YOUR Allergic ASTHMA Triggers with Your Custom Formulated ImmuoTherapy Allergy DROPs.

      Your Primary Care Dr. CAN HELP You > Drop Your Allergies

      Best Health = Wealth Regards,

      Stephen
      DropYourAllergies.com


      • 6 Years Ago
      they show a correlation between asthma and nitrogen dioxide.
      not carbon emissions.

      rather than "quit" carbon, let's just reduce carbon emissions with higher MPG cars. Of course, that assumes that nitrogen dioxide emissions will be reduced at the same rate as carbon emissions. What if that link isn't direct? What if we curb NOx emissions some otherway?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Combustion produces a lot more harmful gases than just CO2 and in the 60' there where less cars than today. Other countries have more pollutant industry yet less asthma.
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      We are just not space cadets like you, MEME. Studies and statistics lie every day. You would believe anything that came from the far left and disbelieve anything that made common sense.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As much as I dislike CO2 I too haven't observed its direct link to asthma. Growing up my parents owned a high traffic gas station in Venezuela. I used to hangout there for a few hours at a time, so I probably have had a lot more exposure to CO2 than your average kid. I don't have asthma, nor do my siblings, but my mother is another story, she does have asthma. Perhaps it depends on a number of factors, carbons being one of them. I can attest to the pollution I perceived: I'd get migraines and sore throat from inhaling carbons, so sure it is counterproductive to ones health. How much? I don't know.
        • 7 Months Ago
        AS MUCH AS YOU DISLIKE CO2? then you'd better quit breathing!
        • 7 Months Ago
        I meant to say excess of...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Tail pipe emissions are not only pure CO2, combustion produces a lot more harmful gases, and how many cars where there in the 60' compared to now?
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