Children who live in high air pollution during childhood may suffer from lung disease in their youth

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Do you know that exposure to air pollution in childhood can have a profound effect on your lungs? According to recent research, children exposed to air pollution in childhood are at a higher risk of lung diseases in their youth. Along with this, the researchers have also emphasized the need to reduce pollution.

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Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have found that exposure to air pollution in childhood was associated with symptoms of bronchitis in adulthood, such as chronic cough, congestion, or phlegm production. These ailments had no link with catching a cold. The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Clinical Care Medicine, examined the health of 1,308 children. Their average age at the time of adult assessment was 32 years. The results of the research revealed that one-quarter of the participants experienced symptoms of bronchitis within the last 12 months.

Effects on the respiratory system

Erica Garcia, assistant professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine, said the findings suggest that exposure to air pollution in childhood has more subtle effects on our respiratory system, which also affects us in adulthood. The presence of bronchitis symptoms was associated with exposure to two types of pollutants between birth and age 17.

How the study was conducted

One group includes microscopic particles present in the air such as dust, pollen, ash from forest fires, industrial emissions, and smoke from vehicles. The other is nitrogen dioxide, a byproduct of combustion in automobiles, aircraft, boats, and power plants, which is known to harm the ability of the lungs to function.

The study

focused on children, who are particularly sensitive to the effects of air pollution. Their respiratory and immune systems are still developing and they breathe more air relative to their body weight than adults. The team also found that exposure to nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in childhood has a very bad effect on children. At the same time, the effect of the study on bronchitis symptoms in adults was greater in those who were diagnosed with asthma in childhood.