New cases of asthma in children linked to air pollution

Researchers estimate that 1.85 million new childhood asthma cases in 2019 were linked with exposure to nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas released by diesel vehicles

About one in 12 new child asthma cases worldwide are associated with exposure to a toxic gas released by diesel vehicles, according to a new estimate.

Breathing high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has been previously linked with triggering and exacerbating asthma in childhood. The evidence is now considered strong enough that in 2020, a UK coroner ruled that exposure to the pollutant contributed to the death of 9-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah.

Susan Anenberg at George Washington University in Washington DC and her colleagues estimate that 1.85 million new childhood asthma cases were linked with the gas in 2019, making up 8.5 per cent of all new cases that year.

Pollution from vehicles may damage airways, leading to inflammation and the development of asthma in children who are genetically predisposed to the condition. Although it isn’t certain which pollutant is responsible, previous research has suggested that exposure to NO2 is key – and traffic emissions can contribute up to 80 per cent of ambient NO2 in cities.

“It is important to note that the actual pollutants in the traffic emission mix that cause asthma remain elusive, and these results do not suggest that we should focus on only emissions of NO2 alone.”

- says Jonathan Grigg at Queen Mary University of London.

Furthermore numerous studies have shown that air pollution raises our risk of certain conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. Even in the UK, which has relatively clean air, pollution is blamed for up to 50,000 premature deaths a year.

So, what can you do to protect yourself and your children?

When indoors the use of an air purifier with a TRUE HEPA filter is key to removing pollutants from the air you and your children breathe. Plus a suitable air purifier will also remove any harmful bacteria and viruses from the air. Take a look at the Winix Zero and the Winix Zero Compact.

And when outdoors you can safeguard against breathing in harmful pollutants with the Airvida C1 wearable air purifier for children aged 3 - 10 years and the Airvida M1 wearable air purifier for adults (10 years+).

Learn more about the Winix Air Purifiers

Learn more about the Airvida wearable Air Purifiers