Environmental Protection notes
Air pollution may pose serious risks to young children
Air pollution, even of short duration, increases the number of lower respiratory infections, a new study reports, and the effects may be particularly serious in young children. The study, in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, tracked 146,397 people, 77 percent of them children younger than 2, who had infections treated in hospitals and clinics in Utah. Researchers gathered data on levels of small particulate matter, or PM2.5, from sensors at three monitoring stations in the state’s Wasatch Front region. The area has substantial variations in PM2.5. Beginning in the second week after an increase in pollution levels, researchers found a corresponding increase in respiratory infections, peaking in the third week after the PM2.5 increase. The scientists calculate that each short-term increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in PM2.5 is associated with a 15 to 23 percent increase in serious respiratory infections. Such acute respiratory infections, usually caused by viruses, are a leading cause of illness and death in young children.
More than 40% of Americans live with unhealthy air
The American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of the Air” report found ozone pollution worsened significantly due to warmer temperatures, putting 4 in 10 Americans at risk. The 19th annual national air quality "report card" found that 133.9 million Americans—more than four in 10 (41.4 percent)—lived in counties with unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution in 2014-2016, placing them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm. "Near record-setting heat from our changing climate has resulted in dangerous levels of ozone in many cities across the country, making ozone an urgent health threat for millions of Americans," said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. "Far too many Americans are living with unhealthy air, placing their health and lives at risk. The 'State of the Air' report should serve as a wake-up call for residents and representatives alike. Everyone deserves to breathe healthy air, and we must do more to protect the air we breathe by upholding and enforcing the Clean Air Act." Click here for a news release.
Mom’s pollution exposure spikes child’s blood pressure
In a paper published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, researchers reported that children of mothers who were exposed in their third trimester to higher levels of fine particulate pollution — the tiny airborne matter that causes haze in many cities around the world — were at a 61 percent higher risk of elevated blood pressure....continue