Research Summarizes Air Pollution and Asthma Link

Writing in the May, 2014, edition of The Lancet, researchers provide an overview of the link between air pollution and asthma, review recently published clinical studies on the issue, and discuss “clinical implications, policy issues, and research gaps relevant to air pollution and asthma.” A story in the Daily Mail notes that the journal article “found pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide can cause serious cell damage to airways, triggering asthma attacks. It concluded that the pollutants pumped into the air by diesel cars – including tiny particulates and black carbon particles – can trigger asthma attacks and are worst close to roads. The paper says: ‘Patients with asthma should ideally live at least 300 metres (1,000 feet) away from major roadways, especially those with heavy truck traffic. ‘Traffic-related air pollution can exacerbate asthma but concentrations of motor vehicle emissions such as ultrafine particulate matter and black carbon particles decrease substantially by 300 metres.’”