Friday, April 19, 2013

Roadside Emissions and Asthma in Europe

(Abstract, Laura Perez, Christophe Declercq, Carmen Iñiguez, Inmaculada Aguilera, Chiara Badaloni, Ferran Ballester, Catherine Bouland, Olivier Chanel, FB Cirarda, Francesco Forastiere, Bertil Forsberg, Daniela Haluza, Britta Hedlund, Koldo Cambra, Marina Lacasaña, Hanns Moshammer, Peter Otorepec, Miguel Rodríguez-Barranco, Sylvia Medina, Nino Künzli, European Respiratory Journal, Mar. 21, 2013)

Also discussed here: Road Traffic Pollution as Serious as Passive Smoke in the Development of Childhood Asthma(Science Daily, Mar. 21, 2013)  

Asthma before-after
Today we review research from Europe aimed at identifying the contribution that roadside emissions make to the incidence of asthma. Results indicate that 15% of all cases of asthma are attributable to exposure to the air pollution near busy roads and notes the need for policy to reduce this “large and preventable share of chronic disease” to as low as 2% of all asthma cases.    

Key Quotes:   “Recent epidemiological research suggests that near road traffic-related pollution may cause chronic disease, as well as exacerbate related pathologies, implying that the entire “chronic disease progression” should be attributed to air pollution, no matter what the proximate cause was”   “The researchers used a method known as population-attributable fractions to assess the impact of near-road traffic pollution. This calculates the proportional reduction in disease or death that would occur if exposure to a risk factor were reduced to a lower level.”   “Exposure to roads with high vehicle traffic, a proxy for near road traffic-related pollution, accounted for 14% of all asthma cases. When a causal relationship between near road traffic-related pollution and asthma is assumed, 15% of all episodes of asthma symptoms were attributable to air pollution.”   "Air pollution has previously been seen to trigger symptoms but this is the first time we have estimated the percentage of cases that might not have occurred if Europeans had not been exposed to road traffic pollution. In light of all the existing epidemiological studies showing that road-traffic contributes to the onset of the disease in children, we must consider these results to improve policy making and urban planning."   “Pollutants along busy roads are responsible for a large and preventable share of chronic disease and related acute exacerbation in European urban areas”  
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