Air Pollution Linked to Increased Risk for Childhood Asthma

Risk for asthma incidence at ages 4 and 11 years rose with increases in early-life exposure to nitrogen dioxide, PM2.5
Air Pollution Linked to Increased Risk for Childhood Asthma
Adobe Stock
Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

MONDAY, March 4, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Early-life air pollution is associated with an increased risk for asthma in childhood, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in JAMA Network Open.

Antonella Zanobetti, Ph.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined early-life exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution and asthma risk by early and middle childhood. Birth cohorts were recruited between 1987 and 2007, and children were followed through age 11 years.

Data were included for 5,279 children; 24.7 and 18.1 percent had asthma by 11 and 4 years of age, respectively. The researchers found that during the first three years of life, mean values of pollutants were associated with the incidence of asthma. Among children younger than 5 years and younger than 12 years, a one interquartile range (IQR) increase in NO2 was associated with increased asthma incidence (hazard ratios, 1.25 and 1.22, respectively). Corresponding increases in asthma incidence were seen in association with a one IQR increase in PM2.5 (hazard ratios, 1.31 and 1.23, respectively). Among mothers with less than a high school diploma, Black children, communities with fewer child opportunities, and census tracts with a higher-percentage Black population and population density, associations of PM2.5 or NO2 with asthma were increased.

"Air pollution continues to be a global burden with serious consequences on childhood health," the authors write. "Reducing asthma risk in the United States requires regulation and reduction of air pollution combined with creation of greater environmental, educational, and health equity at a community level."

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

Related Stories

No stories found.