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Traffic pollution ups risk of hospital visits among children with asthma

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Air pollution caused by traffic near the home affects the severity of asthma in children, leading to repeated visits to the hospital, reveals a US study.

Researchers from the University of California studied records for 2,768 children from two hospitals in California.

They analysed children’s estimated exposures to the traffic-related air pollutants nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), at their homes.

Previous studies had demonstrated a correlation between high home or school traffic density and diagnosed asthma.

But it was unclear whether a correlation existed between repeated asthmatic episodes requiring hospital care and exposure to traffic.

The researchers said: ‘Traffic-related NOx and CO were associated with repeated hospital encounters for asthma in children, suggesting that local traffic-generated air pollution near the home affects asthma severity.’

Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (2009) 102: 138-144

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