Children who live near busy streets and highways have more respiratory problems and hay-fever allergies than children who live in more bucolic settings, according to findings of a group of German researchers.
Asthma and hay fever due to air-born allergens and pollutants are more common among four to six-year-olds who live in high-traffic density districts, say the researchers from the German Research Centre for Environment and Health at the Institute of Epidemiology in Munich.
“Children living very close to a major road are likely to be exposed not only to a higher amount of traffic-derived particles and gases but also to a more freshly emitted aerosols which may be more toxic,” wrote Dr. Joachim Heinrich, lead author of the research.
“Our findings provide strong evidence for the adverse effects of traffic-related air pollutants on atopic diseases as well as on allergic sensitization,” wrote Dr. Heinrich.
The German study examined nearly 2,900 metropolitan Munich area children at age four and more than 3,000 at age six to determine their rates of doctor-diagnosed asthma and/or allergy in relation to long-term exposure to traffic-related pollution.
Parents were given questionnaires about their child’s respiratory diagnoses and symptoms, and their children were assessed for asthma, wheezing, sneezing and eczema. At six years of age, the children were tested for food allergies.
In addition, air quality measurements were also made.
After controlling for such individual characteristics as parental allergies, pet ownership, and number of siblings, researchers found significant positive associations between distance to the nearest road and asthmatic bronchitis, hay fever, eczema and allergic sensitizations.
They also found a relationship between proximity to the road and risk of allergic sensitization, with those living closest to major roads having a nearly 50 per cent greater risk of allergic sensitization.
“We consistently found strong associations between the distance to the nearest main road and the allergic disease outcomes,” wrote Dr. Heinrich.
“Children living closer than 50 metres to a busy street had the highest probability of getting allergic symptoms, compared to children living further away.”
The results appeared in the second issue for June of the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
source : topnewshealth
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