Prenatal exposure to pollution especially dangerous for children with asthma

May 20, 2012

The link between prenatal exposure to air pollution and childhood lung growth and respiratory ailments has been established by several studies in recent years, and now a new study suggests that these prenatal exposures can be especially serious for children with asthma.

The study will be presented at the ATS 2012 International Conference in San Francisco.

"In this study, we found that prenatal exposures to and the pollutant adversely affect growth among between 6 and 15 years of age," said study lead author Amy Padula, PhD, post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. "This analysis adds to the evidence that to ambient air pollutants can have persistent effects on development in children with ."

The study was conducted as part of the Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (FACES) – Lifetime Exposure initiative, which examines the influence of to a number of ambient air pollutants on the growth of lung function during childhood and teen years in a high pollution area.

For this analysis, the researchers included repeated evaluations of 162 asthmatic children between the ages of 6 and 15 and their mothers. To determine prenatal exposure levels to pollution, the mothers' residences during pregnancy were geocoded and pollutant concentrations were obtained from the Aerometric Information Retrieval System supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).Monthly average pollutant concentrations were assigned from 24-hour averages obtained at a central site monitor and summaries of the entire pregnancy and each trimester were calculated. The researchers looked at several pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulate matter.

To calculate lung function growth, which is determined primarily by changes in lung capacity as a child grows, the researchers used spirometry, a technique which measures the volume and speed of air as it is exhaled from the lungs. For this study, multiple lung function tests were performed and significant changes were noted in four measurements: the FVC, or forced vital capacity, which reflects the volume of air that can be blown out after fully inhaling; the FEV1, or forced expiratory volume in 1 second, which is the volume of air that can forcibly be blown out in one second, after fully inhaling; the FEF, or forced expiratory flow, which reflects the flow of air coming out of the lungs during the middle portion of a forced exhalation; and the PEF, or peak expiratory flow, which is the maximal flow achieved when air is forcibly exhaled immediately after being inhaled.

Measurement models were performed separately for boys and for girls, and were adjusted for height, age, race and socioeconomic status.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that exposure to nitrogen dioxideduring the first and second trimesters was associated with lower pulmonary function growth in both girls and boys in childhood. Among girls, exposure to nitrogen dioxide during the first trimester was associated with lower FEV1 growth and exposure to nitrogen dioxide during the second trimester was associated with lower FEF growth. Among boys, nitrogen dioxide exposure during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy was associated with lower FVC growth. Exposure to particulate matter during the first trimester was associated with lower FEV1 and FVC growth in girls; similar exposures during the third trimester were associated with lower PEF and FEF growth among boys.

"This finding adds to the evidence that current air pollution levels continue to have adverse effects on human health," Dr. Padula said. "Few studies have examined prenatal exposure to air pollution and subsequent lung function in childhood. These results suggest that we need to be doing a better job to reduce traffic-related air pollution.

Dr. Padula said she and her colleagues hope to conduct future studies on the role of genetic susceptibility to air pollution.

"Currently, our studies are examining the associations between prenatal air pollution and adverse birth outcomes," she noted. "It would be useful to know what makes some people more or less susceptible to the adverse affects of so we might be able to provide more targeted public health advice."

Explore further: Exposure to parental stress increases pollution-related lung damage in children

More information: "Exposure To Air Pollution During Pregnancy And Pulmonary Function Growth In The FACES LiTE Cohort" (Session A49, Sunday, May 20, 2012, Area A, Moscone Center; Abstract 31611)

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Tom Gillilan
not rated yet May 20, 2012
"examines the influence of prenatal exposure to a number of ambient air pollutants on the growth of lung function during childhood and teen years in a high pollution area."

This study was done on "ambient" air which means that the actual exposure concentration levels of the pollutants the people are really exposed to are much higher than this study measured.This is so because like here in Los Angeles where hundreds of thousands of people cook with wood and charcoal every day of the year creating pockets of extremely unhealthy air that the air board REFUSES to measure or admit, Fresno also has a population who cook with wood and charcoal, a method that is hundreds of times more toxic and pollution rich than any other cooking method.

Nothing has or is being done to correct the ill effects of charcoal and wood burning. There is great ignorance about soot, although NASA has identified soot as a top priority pollutant.
Tom Gillilan
not rated yet May 20, 2012
ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CHEMICALS ARE IN CHARCOAL AND WOOD SMOKE:

CARBON MONOXIDE, METHANE, VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS, FORMALDEHYDE, ACROLEIN, PROPIONALDEHYDE, BUTRYALDEHYDE, ACETALDEHYDE, FURFURAL, SUBSTITUTED FURANS, BENZENE, ALKYL BENZENES, TOLUENE,ACETIC ACID, FORMIC ACID, NITROGEN OXIDES,SULFER DIOXIDE, METHYL CHLORIDE, NAPTHALENE, SUBSTITUTED NAPTHALENES, OXYGENATED MONOAROMATICS, GUAIACOL, PHENOL, SYRINGOL, CATECHOL, PARTICULATE ORGANIC CARBON,OXYGENATED POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAH), FLORENE, PHENANTHRENE, ANTHRACENE, METHYL ANTHRACENES, FLUORANTHENE, PYRENE, BENZO(A)ANTHRACENE, CHRYSENE, BENZOFLUORANTHENES, BENZO(E)PYRENE, BENZO(A)PYRENE, PERYLENE, IDENO(1,2,3-cd)PYRENE, BENZ(ghi)PERYLENE, CORONENE.

WE INHALE THESE AS TOXIC VAPORS WHEN OUR NEIGHBORS COOK WITH CHARCOAL AND WOOD OR USE THEIR FIREPLACE
Tom Gillilan
not rated yet May 20, 2012
"It would be useful to know what makes some people more or less susceptible to the adverse affects of air pollution so we might be able to provide more targeted public health advice."

What makes people more or less susceptible to the adverse effects of air pollution is the frequency of repeated exposure to toxic hot spots such as those caused by charcoal and wood burning. And for entire urban populations that repeated exposure is daily.

Here in Los Angeles every apartment and home has electricity and natural gas already, so properly targeted public health advice would be to quit cooking with a method that is hundreds of times more toxic and pollution rich than any other method.

Cooking with wood and charcoal should be made illegal in dense urban settings such as Los Angeles, where already the background air is the most polluted and the most unhealthy in the country.

Freedom does not apply to injuring others or putting others health at risk needlessly.

Tom Gillilan
not rated yet May 20, 2012
The root cause of toxic air pollution and prenatal pollution exposure caused by charcoal and wood smoke is the California Air Resource Board.

The charcoal industry here in California is a multi-multi-million dollar a year industry. The State does not want to lose the tax revenues it receives from charcoal sales. CARB has publicly stated that it is OK for people with "normal" lungs to breathe toxic smoke polluted air caused by burning charcoal and wood.

Trusting CARB to provide clean healthy breathing air for the citizens of California is like trusting a fox to guard the chickens.

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