Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air Pollution Increases Infants' Risk Of Bronchiolitis

November 7, 2009
American Thoracic Society
Infants who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution are at increased risk for bronchiolitis, according to a new study.

Infants who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution are at increased risk for bronchiolitis, according to a new study.

The study appears in the November 15 issue of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"There has been very little study of the consequences of early life exposure to air pollution," said Catherine Karr, M.D. PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington and the paper's lead author. "This study is unique in that we were able to look at multiple sources including wood smoke in a region with relatively low concentrations of ambient air pollution overall."

The researchers analyzed nearly 12,000 diagnoses of infant bronchiolitis between 1999 and 2002 in southwestern British Columbia, with respect to the individual's ambient pollution exposure based on monitored levels of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter from monitoring stations within 10 km of the infants' homes. They also used land-use regression maps to assess concentrations of ambient pollution with respect to traffic and wood smoke. They analyzed pollution exposure by dividing subjects into four categories, or quartiles, of concentration.

After accounting for confounding variables including sex, gestational age, maternal smoking and breastfeeding, they found that a diagnosis of bronchiolitis was significantly linked to increased lifetime exposure to specific pollutants. An interquartile increase in exposure to NO, NO2, SO2 and CO increased bronchiolitis risk by 8, 12, 4 and 13 percent respectively. Infants who lived within 50 meters of a highway had an increased risk of six percent; those who lived in a higher wood smoke exposure area had an increase of eight percent in their risk of bronchiolitis.

"In general, we found that traffic-derived air pollutants were associated with infant bronchiolitis as well as wood smoke and industrial emissions," said Dr. Karr. "The magnitude of the effect is modest, but is comparable to most air pollution studies in North America. The importance of these small magnitude effects become significant when you consider that they affect a great number of children because these exposures are so ubiquitous."

"This study adds to a growing body of research showing a link between neighborhood air pollution hotspots and pediatric respiratory disease. We were specifically interested in bronchiolitis, the main reason for children to be hospitalized in their first year, as it is an important and costly childhood illness. Reducing exposure to air pollution may be one approach to decrease bronchiolitis occurrence," said Michael Brauer, Sc.D., professor at the School of Environmental Health at the University of British Columbia and principal investigator on the study.

Dr. Karr, who is a pediatrician, also noted that the current research might help guide the conversations that doctors have with patients. "I think we have a role in educating parents about concerns regarding air pollution and promoting precautionary approaches where feasible. Encouraging avoidance of the use of wood burning appliances or avoiding residing in close proximity to highways would be examples."

Furthermore, she says, policies should address exposure to air pollution in residential settings, school settings, and daycares. "Places where kids spend a lot of time shouldn't be right next to major highways," said Dr. Karr.

The research strengthens the connection between ambient air pollution and respiratory disease among children, although more research needs to be done to elucidate the precise nature of that link. Dr. Karr noted that the National Children's Study, a new project of the NIH, CDC and EPA, which is designed to follow 100,000 mothers and their children from birth to adulthood will expand our understanding further. This prospective study will allow exploration of the role of environmental exposures such as air pollution in the context of other influences on child health such as genes and gene-environment interactions.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "Air Pollution Increases Infants' Risk Of Bronchiolitis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091106084243.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2009, November 7). Air Pollution Increases Infants' Risk Of Bronchiolitis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091106084243.htm
American Thoracic Society. "Air Pollution Increases Infants' Risk Of Bronchiolitis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091106084243.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This

More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

AP (July 25, 2014) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe toured the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort on the Chesapeake Bay today, a day after it was hit by a tornado. The storm claimed two lives and injured dozens of others. (July 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins