Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Air pollution affects respiratory health in children with asthma

A new study reports that inner-city children with asthma may be particularly vulnerable to air pollution at levels below current air quality standards.

The study, available online today, analyzes the short-term effects of outdoor pollution levels on asthma symptoms and lung function in children. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Using data collected from the NIAID Inner-City Asthma Study (ICAS), researchers examined 861 children with persistent asthma, aged 5 to 12 years, living in low-income areas in seven U.S. inner-city communities: Boston, the Bronx, Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Seattle and Tucson. Over two years, the researchers regularly monitored the children’s asthma symptoms, breathing function, and school absences, and obtained daily outdoor pollution measurements from the EPA’s Aerometric Information Retrieval System. Every six months, they tested lung function twice-daily over a two-week period. They also asked the children’s parents for their observations of their children’s symptoms.

Results revealed that children had significantly decreased lung function following exposure to higher concentrations of the air pollutants sulfur dioxide, airborne fine particles, and nitrogen dioxide. Higher nitrogen dioxide levels and higher levels of fine particles also were associated with school absences related to asthma, and higher nitrogen dioxide levels were associated with more asthma symptoms. Because nitrogen dioxide is derived mainly from motor vehicle exhaust, these data provide evidence that car emissions may be causing adverse respiratory health effects in these urban children who have asthma.

Previous studies have documented the adverse respiratory effects of very high levels of outdoor pollutants. However, this study involves a larger cohort of inner-city asthmatic children and a more comprehensive evaluation of respiratory health effects than prior studies of this type. The study’s authors report that inner-city children with asthma experience adverse health effects from air pollutants even when air pollution levels are within the current air quality standards of the Environmental Protection Agency. These findings raise questions about the current air quality standards and suggest that part of overall asthma management for children living in inner cities may need to include efforts to reduce exposure to air pollutants.

The study was conducted by the Inner City Asthma Study Group (ICAS). ICAS was started in 1996 to examine environmental interventions in the management of asthma. During its 12-year history, ICAS has contributed to the understanding of childhood asthma and ways to minimize disease consequences. The study was funded by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and National Center for Research Resources (NCRR); and by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

ARTICLE: G O’Connor et al. Acute respiratory health effects of air pollution on asthmatic children in US inner cities. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2008).

WHO: Marshall Plaut, M.D., Chief, Allergic Mechanisms Section, NIAID; and Alkis Togias, M.D., Section Chief, Asthma, Allergy and Inflammation Branch, at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are available to comment on this article.

CONTACT: To schedule interviews, contact the NIAID Communications Office, 301-402-1663,

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies.

The primary mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of 27 Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health, is to reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease. For additional information, visit the NIEHS Web site at

NCRR ( provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)--The Nation's Medical Research Agency--includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

| EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Seeking balanced networks: how neurons adjust their proteins during homeostatic scaling.

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

More VideoLinks >>>