Asthma linked to NO2

Motor-vehicle pollution could be major factor in childhood asthma

Researchers have made a connection between early-life exposure to air pollution and childhood asthma among minorities.

A team of scientists at UC San Francisco studied 3,343 Latino and 977 African-American participants, ages 8 to 21, each of whom had been exposed to air pollution in infancy prior to developing the disease, according to a UCSF press release. The scientists found that for each five-part-per-billion increase of nitrogen dioxide (a component of motor-vehicle pollution) participants were exposed to during their first year of life, their chance of developing asthma later in life increased by 17 percent.

The study’s authors maintained the national standard for NO2 set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—53 parts per billion—is too permissive for public safety; on average, the children in the study were exposed to 19 ppb of NO2 during their first year of life.