Luchtvervuiling verlaagt ademhalingscapaciteit stadskinderen met 17 procent
"Kinderen vervuilde stadslucht laten ademen, komt overeen met kinderen laten roken", steekt professor Jonathan Grigg van het Royal London Hospital van wal. "Kleine vervuilde luchtdeeltjes komen via de longen in het bloed en zorgen voor verschillende ontstekingen. Bij kinderen zorgen ze voor een verminderde longgroei en -functie."
Voor het onderzoek werd slijm uit de longen van 34 kinderen uit Oost-Londen en dat van 66 kinderen uit Leicester onderzocht. Het onderzoek spitste zich toe op de macrofagen, die kiemen en vervuilende stoffen verwijderen. Ook de ademhalingscapaciteit van de kinderen werd in kaart gebracht.
"Hoe meer koolstof we vonden in de macrofagen, hoe lager de longfunctie", aldus Grigg. "Bij kinderen met de hoogste koolstofwaarden bleken de longen 17 procent zwakker."
De studie wordt volgende maand in Amsterdam voorgesteld op een congres rond stadsvervuiling. De Sunday Times schrijft dat de gevolgen van luchtvervuiling voor het stijgende aantal astmapatiënten in steden al langer erkend worden, maar de impact op de algemene gezondheid van kinderen veel minder.
b− 22/04/12, 16u26 − Bron: belga.be
Traffic fumes increase the risk of child pneumonia
Children who live near a main road are in greater danger of catching pneumonia because pollution from passing traffic damages their lungs.
A leading expert in childhood breathing difficulties has made the link between exposure to particles from vehicle exhausts and a child’s susceptibility to the chest infection, which can be fatal.
Professor Jonathan Grigg, an honorary consultant at the Royal London Hospital and academic paediatrician at Queen Mary, University of London, made the breakthrough after studying the effect of airborne pollutants on human lung cells. Children whose home is within 100 metres of a main road could be as much as 65 per cent more likely than others to develop pneumonia, he said.
Although the disease is usually associated with the elderly, it is a significant childhood illness. Every year about 20,000 children and young people under 18 end up in hospital after contracting the condition. It can also be fatal. Between 2004 and 2008, it killed between 60 and 77 patients aged under 20 annually, of whom between 38 and 52 were under the age of five, according to data from Britain’s Office of National Statistics.
Children under 12 months are the most likely to die. Of the 76 young people under 20 who died in 2008, 29 had not reached their first birthday – 20 boys and nine girls – and 23 others were between one and four.
Grigg took contaminated air particles collected as part of Leicester city council’s air-quality monitoring system and recreated their impact in a laboratory. He then added bacteria that would cause pneumonia in a human and assessed how many were sticking to the surface of the cells and getting inside them. In normal lungs a few bacteria do that, but in the lung cells that had been artificially exposed to pollution three to four times more did so.
“These findings strongly suggest that particles pollution is a major factor in making children vulnerable to pneumonia. We’ve shown a very firm link between the two. The study raises strong suspicions that particles cause pneumonia in children,” said Grigg. “This is significant because pneumonia causes many admissions of previously healthy children to hospital.” Some children with the disease spend several weeks in intensive care.
Previous studies have blamed proximity to a main road for children having higher rates of asthma, wheezing, coughs, ear, nose and throat infections, and food allergies.
A study this month by the Boston-based Health Effects Institute claimed that toxic emissions from vehicles can speed up hardening of the arteries, as well as impairing lung function.
“Strong evidence” suggested that being exposed to traffic fumes can lead to variations in heart rate and other potentially fatal heart complaints, the study said.
Exposure to the burning of wood or coal, or to tobacco smoke, can also increase a child’s chances of pneumonia. One study found that secondhand smoke was to blame for 28.7 per cent of all children under five in Vietnam who were admitted to hospital with the condition.
Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We have known for some time that pollution causes chest problems, such as asthma, in both children and adults. This new research adds to the weight of evidence about the problems of air pollution, especially [from] cars, buses and lorries.”
Childhood pneumonia was important because it often led to admission to hospital, costing the NHS hundreds of pounds per bed per day.
The research underlined the need for Britain to move towards greener forms of transport in order to protect public health from traffic fumes, he suggested.
Denis Campbell, health correspondent
How diesel takes its toll on children's lungs
Scientists have uncovered devastating proof that diesel exhaust fumes can penetrate into the lungs of children, trig-gering asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions.
British experts found tiny carbon particles, pumped out by engines, deep in the lungs of all the children they examined, aged as young as three months.
It is the first study to show that diesel particles reach and are taken up by the cells in the deepest parts of the lung which help get oxygen into the bloodstream.
Further research showed that children exposed to more exhaust fumes because they lived alongside main roads were up to twice as likely to suffer coughs and wheezing than those in quieter areas.
Dr Jonathan Grigg, senior lecturer in paediatric respiratory medicine at Leicester University, who led the research, said: 'We are finding particles in cells that are known to cause lung injury.'
The research is published today in Thorax, the medical journal of the British Thoracic Society. Diesel was hailed in the 1970s as a 'green' fuel and given lower duty rates because of its low emissions of carbon dioxide, thought to be associated with global warming.
Around one in six cars in the UK runs on diesel fuel. But there has been increasing concern over recent years about the health effects of diesel particulates.
Children are thought to be particularly vulnerable because they breathe more quickly, moving more air deep into their lungs than adults.
They also exercise more and spend more time outside, increasing their chances of exposure. The latest research could help explain why cases of asthma in under-fives have doubled in the last ten years. It is estimated
by JAMES CHAPMAN, Daily Mail