Air pollution from traffic plays major role in pediatric asthma: Study

Published On 2022-01-11 03:30 GMT   |   Update On 2022-01-11 03:31 GMT

1·85 million new pediatric asthma cases were attributable to NO2 globally in 2019, the study found. USA: Traffic-related nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution seems to play an important role in the incidences of asthma in children worldwide, according to a recent study in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. Therefore, reducing air pollution should be a key element of public health...

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1·85 million new pediatric asthma cases were attributable to NO2 globally in 2019, the study found. 

USA: Traffic-related nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution seems to play an important role in the incidences of asthma in children worldwide, according to a recent study in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. Therefore, reducing air pollution should be a key element of public health strategies for children. 

The researchers further added that urban areas compared to rural areas have higher NO2 concentrations and disease burdens. In 2019, 16·4% of pediatric asthma incidence in urban areas were estimated to be caused due to NO2 pollution. 

Previous studies have shown an association between combustion-related NO2 air pollution and pediatric asthma incidence. In the study, Susan C Anenberg, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA, and colleagues aimed to determine global surface NO2 concentrations consistent with the Global Burden of Disease study for 1990–2019 at a 1 km resolution. They also estimated the concentrations and attributable pediatric asthma incidence trends in 13 189 cities from 2000 to 2019.

For this purpose, using a land-use regression model, the researchers scaled an existing annual average NO2 concentration dataset for 2010–12 to other years using NO2 column densities from satellite and reanalysis datasets. These concentrations were then applied in an epidemiologically derived concentration-response function with population and baseline asthma rates in order to determine NO2-attributable to asthma incidence in children. 

Following were the study's salient findings:

· 1·85 million new pediatric asthma cases were attributable to NO2 globally in 2019, two-thirds of which occurred in urban areas (1·22 million cases).

· The proportion of pediatric asthma incidence that is attributable to NO2 in urban areas declined from 19·8% in 2000 to 16·0% in 2019.

· Urban attributable fractions dropped in high-income countries (–41%), Latin America and the Caribbean (–16%), central Europe, eastern Europe, and central Asia (–13%), and southeast Asia, east Asia, and Oceania (–6%), and rose in south Asia (+23%), sub-Saharan Africa (+11%), and North Africa and the Middle East (+5%).

· The contribution of NO2 concentrations, pediatric population size, and asthma incidence rates to the change in NO2-attributable pediatric asthma incidence differed regionally.

"Combustion-related NO2 pollution continues to be an important contributor to pediatric asthma incidence globally, despite improvements in some regions, particularly in cities," wrote the authors. "Mitigating air pollution should be a crucial factor of public health strategies for children.

Reference:

The study titled, "Long-term trends in urban NO2 concentrations and associated paediatric asthma incidence: estimates from global datasets," was published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00255-2

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Article Source : Lancet Planetary Health

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