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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

GW: Study Finds Millions of Children Worldwide Develop Asthma Annually Due to Traffic-Related Pollution

About 4 million children worldwide develop asthma each year because of inhaling nitrogen dioxide air pollution, according to a study published last week by researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH). The study, based on data from 2010 to 2015, estimates that 64 percent of these new cases of asthma occur in urban areas. The study, “Global, national, and urban burdens of paediatric asthma incidence attributable to ambient NO2 pollution: estimates from global datasets,” was published on April 10 in The Lancet Planetary Health.

The study is the first to quantify the worldwide burden of new pediatric asthma cases linked to traffic-related nitrogen dioxide by using a method that takes into account high exposures to this pollutant that occur near busy roads, said Dr. Susan C. Anenberg, the senior author of the study and an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Milken Institute SPH.

“Our findings suggest that millions of new cases of pediatric asthma could be prevented in cities around the world by reducing air pollution,” said Dr. Anenberg.  “Improving access to cleaner forms of transportation, like electrified public transport and active commuting by cycling and walking, would not only bring down NO2 levels, but would also reduce asthma, enhance physical fitness, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

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