Traffic pollution could be causing asthma

Pollution from road traffic could have a greater role in harming the health of children than previously thought. A new study based on research in 10 European cities estimates that 14% of chronic childhood asthma is a result of traffic pollution near busy roads. Up to now, the impact of air pollution from road traffic on children’s health was thought to be limited to triggering asthma in those children vulnerable to it because of other factors. But this new study, Chronic burden of near-roadway traffic pollution in 10 European cities, published in European Respiratory Journal, is the first estimate of cases that might not have occurred if the children concerned had not been exposed to traffic pollution. The figure of 14% suggests the problem of traffic pollution is on a similar level to the problem of passive smoking, which has been a major factor in anti-smoking measures in most European countries.