A recent study on ScienceDaily.com reveals that traffic pollution may be responsible for childhood asthma.

The research was done in 10 European cities, wherein experts used a method called “population-attributable fractions” in order to assess how toxicants can affect children near roads with heavy traffic. This process enables them to calculate how the chances of disease and death are lowered when one is not exposed to certain risk factors.

They found that 14 percent of asthma cases across 10 cities can be attributed to traffic pollution. Taking into account passive smoking and other health risks, children who are less exposed to traffic pollution are also less likely to develop asthma, while those who are more exposed to it are more likely to have the said condition.

Lead author Dr. Laura Perez from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute notes, "Air pollution has previously been seen to trigger symptoms but this is the first time we have estimated the percentage of cases that might not have occurred if Europeans had not been exposed to road traffic pollution. In light of all the existing epidemiological studies showing that road-traffic contributes to the onset of the disease in children, we must consider these results to improve policy making and urban planning."

For women and their husbands or partners who are starting out and are planning to look for a new home, it may be wise to consider living far away from main thoroughfares. Settling down in the suburbs is a good option, but if you really need to live in the city closer to work, a condo or an apartment a few blocks away from the highway and with a nice garden or recreational area is a decent alternative. Investing in where you live may also mean investing in your health and that of your child’s.

(Photo by Robert Verzo via Flickr Creative Commons)

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