Paediatric asthma incidence is associated with exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP), but the TRAP-attributable burden remains poorly quantified. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a major component and common proxy of TRAP. In a new study, researchers estimated the annual global number of new asthma cases attributable to NO2 exposure at a resolution sufficient to resolve intra-urban exposure gradients
The research by George Washington University was published in the Lancet. Transportation can contribute up to 80% of ambient NO2 in cities and is important driver of increasing GHG emissions globally. The researchers found that, in general, countries and cities with higher CO2 emissions tended to have higher paediatric NO2 exposures and larger burdens of asthma incidence attributable to ambient NO.
Efforts to reduce NO2 exposure could help prevent a substantial portion of new paediatric asthma cases in both developed and developing countries, and especially in urban areas. Traffic emissions should be a target for exposure-mitigation strategies. The adequacy of the WHO guideline for ambient NO2 concentrations might need to be revisited.
Source: The Lancet