New research from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has revealed that air pollution is responsible for 33 percent of all new asthma cases among children in Europe each year. The team reported that nearly 200,000 cases could be prevented by lowering levels of harmful particle pollution.
Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease, and is steadily on the rise. By analysing census population data and information from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, experts determined that more than 63.4 million children across 18 European countries suffer from asthma.
The team used two different scenarios to estimate how many of these cases are linked to air pollution. The first framework referenced the maximum air pollution levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. The second framework reviewed the lowest air pollution levels recorded among 41 previous studies.
Based on the first scenario, the researchers found that 66,600 childhood asthma cases could be prevented every year if European countries complied with the WHO air quality guidelines for PM2.5. The team also determined that 2,400 cases could be prevented if these nations complied with the air quality guidelines for NO2.