Study shows ill effects of air pollution exposure among children

A new study links air pollution levels and children’s health, with blood samples showing that children have elevated markers of inflammation if they were exposed to higher air pollution.

Higher air pollution levels were also linked to lower cardiac autonomic regulation in children, which impacts how fast the heart beats and how hard it pumps.

The researchers from the University of California, Davis looked at blood samples from more than 100 healthy children aged 9-11 in the Sacramento area where pollutants near their homes were recorded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In total, 27 of the children studied had inflammation markers in their blood recorded during significant fires when their neighbourhoods recorded significant levels of PM2.5 in the air.

boy covering his face with white and blue face mask

These times when fires were burning included during the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018, which was active about 100 miles from the lab where blood was drawn.

‘By examining daily and monthly levels of particulate matter in relation to children’s inflammation and autonomic physiology, this study further demonstrates the immediate consequences of exposure to air pollution, which may increase risk of future disease,’ Parenteau said, adding: ‘As climate change continues to impact children and families, it is paramount to understand the impact of environmental contaminants such as air pollution on children’s physiology.’

Previous studies with children have shown significant associations between ambient air pollution and allergic sensitization, respiratory symptoms, and ultra-structural and cellular changes to their lungs and airways, researchers said.

Researchers have found children may be especially susceptible to the effects of air pollution, given that, compared to adults, they have a higher intake of contaminants and greater lung surface area relative to their body weight.

Continued developmental research on environmental contaminants can sound the alarm about the effects of air pollution and inform policy changes that could promote long-term population health, researchers concluded.

Photo by Izzy Park


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Morris Charney
Morris Charney
1 year ago

It should be a requirement that the air quality of every house that is purchased be checked by an expert who knows what is necessary to do to make it a healthy environment.

Stella Haley
Stella Haley
1 year ago

Children exposed to wood smoke pollution are being harmed 22000 breaths a day. Given the damning NESCAUM Assessment of EPA/CSA Certified stoves the emissions of dioxin and Pm2.5 pose an an enormous threat to kids. In our communities the air is extremely toxic and given one stove emits the equivalent of 80000 lm of a heavy loader every 24 hours , imagine the lungs and blood cells of our children . Research proves wood smoke to be more carcinogenic than tobacco! For more info, see websites:
Families For Clean Air
Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution.
Our planet is burning and our leaders are failing .. living near a wood smoker one’s home is 100% more polluted!
We must ban Wood Burning as f Montreal did. in 2018, and demand all complicit in false emissions testing in the HPBA and all implicated in benefiting ( LUNG ASSOCIATION) industry be held accountable. accountability for wrongful fraud impacting heath, life and environment .
Stella Haley

1 year ago

Thank you. But what does ‘higher pollution’ mean? I have read elsewhere that any amount of air pollution can potentially damage our health, especially that of the elderly, the sick, and infants. It seems to be a question of how much and how often we are exposed. So is there a safe level for PM2.5 or not? Does it matter what kind of particulates we inhale and is anyone concerned about the even small particles?

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