Exposure to pollution in infancy harms lung function

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Exposure to traffic pollution during infancy is linked with lung function problems in children up to the age of 8.

Previous research has looked at the effects of exposure to pollution among children, but the role of timing of exposure remains unknown.

A new study, published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, included more than 1,900 children who were followed from birth until the age of 8. They, and their parents, were asked to complete questionnaires and take spirometry tests. The researchers estimated the outdoor concentrations of air pollution.

The findings revealed that exposure to pollution during the first year of life was linked with reduced lung function at the age of 8. The link was found among all children in the study, but it was particularly strong for boys and children with asthma or other allergies

Lead author, Dr. Pershagen, said: “Our study shows that early exposure to traffic-related air pollution has long-term adverse effects on respiratory health in children, particularly among atopic children. These results add to a large body of evidence demonstrating the detrimental effects of air pollution on human health.”


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