Reply To: Airborne particulates in Hong Kong – health risks


From the Independent:

Researchers have found that young people growing up in homes within 500 metres of a major road suffer significant damage to their lungs from exhaust fumes.

The study, conducted at the University of Southern California, is the latest to show that air pollution increases the risk of respiratory disease. But few studies have examined its effect on lung growth in children.

The authors say carbon, nitrogen dioxide and ultrafine particulates – tiny particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs – are all increased near roads and could account for the damage. Diesel exhaust has been shown to be particularly damaging.

Stephen Holgate, professor of immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton, said the study added to evidence that exhaust fumes damaged lung development in children "probably in the first five to eight years of life".

He said: "Reduced lung function in childhood is a known risk factor for the development and worsening of asthma in children and the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease later in life." He added: "The study adds to the conclusions made in a World Health Organisation report on the health effects of pollution in children, published in 2006, and emphasises the importance of continuing strategies to reduce pollutant hot spots as well as reducing overall air pollutant exposure."

Children growing up near roads suffer serious damage to lungs