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Exposure to traffic air pollution in early years damages lung function in children

A new study of the leading Karolinska Institute of Environmental Medicine in Sweden highlights that exposure to ambient air pollution from traffic during infancy is associated with lung function deficits in children up to eight years of age. Children sensitised to common allergens are particularly vulnerable.

This new Swedish study adds weight to earlier reports which have shown that children are highly susceptible to the adverse effects of air pollution and suggest that exposure early in life may be particularly harmful.

The study included more than 1,900 children who were followed from birth until the age of eight. Exposure to outdoor concentrations of particulate matter from road traffic during the first year of life was especially associated with a reduced lung function at the age of eight. This negative association was particularly pronounced for boys, children with asthma and particularly in children sensitised to allergens. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution after the first year of life appeared to have less impact on subsequent lung function. This study shows that early exposure to traffic-related air pollution has long-term adverse effects on respiratory health in children, particularly among those with allergies.

More information available here.

Last updated on 12 December 2012

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