Friday, January 25, 2013

EPA: More Children Have Asthma, but Severity Declines

EPA today released “America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition,” a comprehensive compilation of information from a variety of sources on children’s health and the environment. The report shows trends for contaminants that may affect children and childhood illnesses and health conditions.

The press release for the report says:
In the case of asthma, researchers do not fully understand why children develop the condition. However, substantial evidence shows exposure to certain air pollutants, including particulate matter and ozone, can trigger symptoms in children who already have asthma. Although the report found the percentage of children reported to currently have asthma increased from 8.7 percent in 2001 to 9.4 percent in 2010 and that minority populations are particularly affected by asthma, the severity of children’s asthma and respiratory symptoms has declined. The rate of emergency room visits for asthma decreased from 114 visits per 10,000 children in 1996 to 103 visits per 10,000 children in 2008. Between 1996 and 2008, hospitalizations for asthma and for all other respiratory causes decreased from 90 hospitalizations per 10,000 children to 56 hospitalizations per 10,000 children.
The report makes only a few references to wood smoke, including this one:
PM and NO2, discussed previously as outdoor air pollutants, also pollute indoor air when they are emitted from gas stoves, gas or oil furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and kerosene or gas space heaters. Indoor concentrations of these combustion byproducts can reach very high levels in developing countries where solid fuels are used extensively for cooking and home heating, but may also affect the respiratory health of children in developed countries, especially during the winter when use of fireplaces and space heaters is more common.
Visit to see the full report.

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