Traffic, Air Pollution, and Paediatric Asthma
BY: Benny Chung
Mar 17, 2022

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) itself is associated with adverse health outcomes including asthma exacerbation, apart from being a precursor to PM2.5 and ozone formation that contribute to air pollution-related mortality. Transportation is responsible for significant proportion of NO2 emission, while power plants, industrial manufacturing and agriculture take up the remaining. Multiple epidemiological research have suggested the association of paediatric asthma incidence and exposure to NO2. Although the agent accountable for the pathogenesis of traffic pollution-related asthma is still not known, NO2 can serve as the surrogate for other pollutants causing the condition. In this sense, a 2022 study linking NO2 with paediatric asthma burden estimated that 1.85 million paediatric asthma cases could be attributable to NO2 pollution in 2019. Besides, two thirds of NO2-attributable paediatric asthma incidence came from urban areas where only accounted for one third of the global paediatric population. To conclude, urbanisation is very likely to be a contributing risk factor for paediatric asthma incidence. The results highlight the societal needs for more intense efforts to strive for better child health while pushing economic development.



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