Heavy traffic can cause asthma

27 September 2012 09:22

Children growing up close to a busy road are more likely to develop asthma, according to a new report

Children growing up close to a busy road are more likely to develop asthma, according to a new report

Almost 10% of children with asthma develop the condition due to living close to a road with heavy traffic, a new study has revealed. Children living near busy main roads are also more likely to suffer from severe forms of the breathing illness and be sent to hospital as a result, researchers at the University of Southern California discovered.

The study, which examined the effects of air pollution on young people suffering from asthma in Los Angeles, found that 8% of children with the condition lived within 75 metres of a road with high traffic density. Los Angeles is renowned for its high levels of car usage, with driving-related pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and ozone capable of exacerbating asthma.

California contains five of the US's most polluted cities, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association, underlining the need for travellers with asthma to take out medical travel insurance to cover them in case of an attack. Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, said: "Our findings suggest that there are large and previously unappreciated public health consequences of air pollution in Los Angeles County and probably other metropolitan areas with large numbers of children living near major traffic corridors."

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