Exposure to Too Many Air Particles Linked to Increased Risk of Asthma in Children

A new Johns Hopkins study found that children exposed to more airborne particles were more likely to develop asthma and need ER or hospital treatment for it than uninformed children.

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Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University report statistical evidence that children who are exposed to exhaled air contain small particles – a mixture of dust, sand and non -waste emitted tailpipe, such as rubber that rubber – more likely to have asthma and need emergency room or hospital treatment for it than children who are not exposed.

A report of the findings, published on December 15 at American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, points to the long -term adverse effects of such large -scale air pollutants – a common cause of daily urban life – on lung health, especially in children under 11 years of age .

Studies have long shown associations between increased risk of asthma and heart disease and fine matter particles inhaled with air, but there is little data on the association between heavy matter and heart disease. lungs.

“Our study shows that particulate matter pollution that is hard contributes to the development and severity of asthma in children,” he said. Corinne Keet, MD, MS, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the first author of the study. Keet also practices outside of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) is defined as particles with a size of 2.5 micrometers or less, and its level in the air is controlled and tested by the EPA. Coarse particulate matter (PM 10-2.5) ranges from 2.5 to 10 micrometers. In comparison, human hair is between 50 and 70 micrometers thick.

To study the effect of respiration on lung particles, Johns Hopkins researchers surveyed nationwide asthma-related and treatment data from the Research Data Assistance Center collected on 7,810,025 children who were ages 5 to 20 enrolled in Medicaid from 2009 to 2010. Children live in 34 states.

Investigators estimated the heavy PM (PM 10-2.5) of each zip code using particle resistances collected in the EPA’s Air Quality System database from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2010. There are 860 PM 2.5 monitors and 581 PM 10 monitors with available information. Investigators combined daily averages to a two-year average and used a statistical model to predict concentration in areas across the United States that were not monitored.

After brainstorming their findings to account for differences in race and ethnicity, sex, age, poverty level, education and multiple urbanization in children’s neighborhoods, Keet and his team found that for each increase in microgram / cubic meter of coarse particle matter, increased asthma incidence by 0.6 percent, emergency room visits for asthma by 1.7 percent and hospitalization for asthma by 2.3 percent.

The association between heavy particle matter and asthma is especially strong for children 11 years of age and older. For every microgram / cubic meter increase in coarse particle matter, the diagnosis of asthma increased by 1.3 percent, the emergency room visit for asthma by 3.3 percent and the hospitalization for asthma. of 4.5 percent.

The authors hypothesized that more intense interaction with children indicates a tendency for young children to spend more time outdoors and their immature lungs to be more vulnerable to air pollution.

The researchers cautioned that their study was limited to a few locations across the country that regularly tracked matter particles.

“More research is needed, but these findings add to the evidence that exposure to PM 10-2.5 may contribute to asthma, and that regulating and monitoring this aspect of air pollution may have to be considered, “Keet said.

These findings are timely, he added, because the EPA is now conducting a comprehensive scientific review related to the health effects of particulate pollution, as mandated by the Clean Air Act.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, an estimated 7.1 million children have asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic illness of childhood and there are 13.8 million missed school days each year.

Other authors of this paper include Joshua P. Keller and Roger D. Peng of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (K23AI103187 and R21AI107085) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (RD835871).

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