Source: George Washington University
About 4 million children worldwide develop asthma each year because of inhaling nitrogen dioxide air pollution, according to a new study. The study, based on data from 2010 to 2015, estimates that 64 percent of these new cases of asthma occur in urban areas.
The study is the first to quantify the worldwide burden of new pediatric asthma cases linked to traffic-related nitrogen dioxide by using a method that takes into account high exposures to this pollutant that occur near busy roads.
Key findings from the study published in The Lancet Planetary Health:
An estimated 4 million children developed asthma each year from 2010 to 2015 due to exposure to NO2 pollution, which primarily comes motor vehicle exhaust.
An estimated 13 percent of annual pediatric asthma incidence worldwide was linked to NO2 pollution
Among the 125 cities, NO2 accounted for 6 percent (Orlu, Nigeria) to 48 percent (Shanghai, China) of pediatric asthma incidence. NO2's contribution exceeded 20 percent in 92 cities located in both developed and emerging economies.
The top 10 highest NO2 contributions were estimated for eight cities in China (37 to 48 percent of pediatric asthma incidence) and for Moscow, Russia and Seoul, South Korea at 40 percent.
The problem affects cities in the United States as well: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Milwaukee were the top five cities in the U.S. with the highest percentage of pediatric asthma cases linked to polluted air
Nationally, the largest burdens related to air pollution were found in China at 760,000 cases of asthma per year, followed by India at 350,000 and the United States at 240,000.