For many years the Los Angeles basin in Californien has had a heavy air pollution from the traffic, and many studies have shown that the development of the lungs are impaired and the risk of asthma is increased among children living near busy roads.
The situation in Los Angeles has, however, improved in recent years, because in the last decades the air concentrations of NO2 and fine particles (PM2,5) have declined 33% and 47%, respectively.
Now, researchers from the University of Southern California have studied the lung developments among more than 2000 children 11-15 years of age from the same area and in the same time period, as the air pollution decreased. Lung growth from age 11 to 15 was more than 10 percent greater for children breathing the lower levels of NO2 from 2007 to 2011 compared to those breathing higher levels from 1994 to 1998. They found that the incidence of abnormal low lung function among the 15-years old children dropped from 7.9% in 1998 to 3.6% in 2011. The improvement for children with asthma was twice as much.
This example illustrates that better air quality improves children’s health, and that reduction of air pollution from traffic pays off. This research has been published in New England Journal of Medicine.
This post is also available in: Danish