A new report has found that paediatric asthma is associated with exposure to traffic-related air pollution, claiming that four million cases world wide could be linked to the NO2 produced in in the traffic-related air pollution.
The number means that 13% of all child asthma cases globally can be attributed to NO2 pollution annually, with 64% of these cases occurring in urban centres.
Among 125 major cities, the percentage of new asthma cases attributable to NO2 pollution ranged from 5·6% in Orlu, Nigeria, to as high as 48% in Shanghai, China.
This study provides the first global estimate of the burden of paediatric asthma incidence attributable to the pollution, finally showing the extent of the damage.
Further to the research, psychotic experiences, such as hearing voices and intense paranoia were significantly more common among adolescents with the highest exposure to NO2, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and very small particulate matter, even after accounting for known risk factors for psychosis. NO2 and NOx together accounted for 60% of the association between living in an urban environment and having adolescent psychotic experiences.
Experts are urging for urgent action to protect the children affected, as Lead study author Ploy Achakulwisut told the media: "Our study indicates that policy initiatives to alleviate traffic-related air pollution can lead to improvements in children's health and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
The prevalence of childhood asthma has increased strikingly since the 1950s, and asthma is now the most commonly reported non-communicable disease among children worldwide.
The news adds to The 2015 Global Burden of Disease study, in which it was estimated that smoking and occupational asthmagens could account for 16.5% of the global asthma prevalence for all ages.
The findings follow research led by Kings College London which showed that teenage psychotic experiences are more common in areas with high air pollution.
The researchers found that psychotic experiences were significantly more common among adolescents with the highest exposure to NO2, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and very small particulate matter (PM2.5), even after accounting for known risk factors for psychosis.
NO2and NOx together accounted for 60% of the association between living in an urban environment and having adolescent psychotic experiences.
"We found that adolescent psychotic experiences were more common in urban areas," said lead author Dr Joanne Newbury, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) who is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
"While the study could not show pollutants caused adolescents to have psychotic experiences, our findings suggest that air pollution could be a contributing factor in the link between city living and psychotic experiences."