Nearly one in four cases of childhood asthma are caused by traffic pollution, a city-wide study found.International scientists used computer simulations to assess the impact of exposure to toxic nitrogen oxide gases.
They found that up to 38 per cent of cases of childhood asthma each year in Bradford may be attributable to air pollution. Pollution from road vehicles alone was linked to 24 per cent of cases.
Dr. Haneen Khreis, who led the research at the University of Leeds’ Institute for Transport Studies, said: “Quantifying the number of childhood asthma cases that are directly attributable to traffic-related air pollution has not been done in the past and as we show now, a significant portion of cases is largely preventable.”
The computer models in the study allowed the team to chart how much air pollution was present in the city and how much of it could be traced to road traffic.
The findings, reported in the journal Environment International, shed light on why childhood asthma rates soared in the United Kingdom (UK) after the 1950s – though it is thought they have plateaued since the 1990s.
The country still has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world, with an estimated one in 11 having the lung condition.Khreis said: “While our research covered Bradford specifically, it is likely other cities in the UK and around Europe suffer from similar issues around air pollution and asthma.”
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