‘Breathe clean air’ – One in 10 child asthma cases ‘linked to traffic pollution’

A global study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal suggested 4 million cases of childhood asthma could be caused by air pollution from traffic – around 13% of those diagnosed each year.  Experts say urgent action to protect children is required. 

Figures taken from traffic impact assessments for Chidswell development of 1,534 houses and 35 hectares of industrial land, suggest this alone will increase local traffic by at least additional 22,836 traffic-trips per day, this in addition to our already busy and congested road network.  With local roads already congested at peak times, queuing takes place to get to and from M62 and M1 on a daily basis.  Standing traffic is to be found along all main arterial routes and junctions and often all way back to motorways.  This congestion is already apparent due to the road network nearing capacity.  As a result, excessive air pollution emissions bring unwanted and dangerous health impacts, particularly for our children.

The Lancet study looked at levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as an indicator of traffic pollution.  NO2 is one element of air pollution, which is also made up of particulate matter, ozone and carbon monoxide.  

Together they are known to be harmful to health and particularly damaging to airways and lungs, increasing risks of asthma and other lung diseases.  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says asthma rates in children have increased sharply since the 1950s. It estimates 4.2 million premature deaths around the world are linked to air pollution, from heart disease, stroke and respiratory infections in children.  The findings highlighted an urgent need to protect the health of the most vulnerable in society – our children.

Dr Matthew Loxham, a fellow in respiratory biology and air pollution toxicology in medicine at Southampton University, said it was “beyond doubt” air pollution causes adverse health effects.  Dr Samantha Walker, director of policy and research at Asthma UK, said polluted air could be affecting an estimated half a million children with asthma in the UK.

Air pollution was a cause in a girl’s death……

In a landmark case, a coroner ruled air pollution was a cause in a girl’s death.  (Guardian December 2020)  The coroner made legal history by ruling air pollution was a cause of death of a nine-year-old girl. The coroner said Ella Kissi-Debrah’s death was caused by acute respiratory failure, severe asthma and air pollution exposure.  The Coroner stated she was exposed to nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter pollution in excess of WHO guidelines, the principal source of which were traffic emissions.  He said, “The whole of Ella’s life was lived in close proximity to highly polluting roads. I have no difficulty in concluding her personal exposure to nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter was very high.”  The coroner said health effects of air pollution had been known for many years, and children and those with asthma were particularly at risk. 

Our children deserve a better future than this……

Share This Post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply