Air Pollution, Asthma Burden Unevenly Shared Among U.S. Children (May 2012)

Alejandro Rey


In many cities around the world air pollution is a factor in the lives and health of children. As a researcher on a study of disparities in air quality, Christopher Paul says “we know that air quality is unacceptable in many places” Paul and is team discovered that low income and minority groups are more susceptible to air pollution. These kids breathe disproportionate amounts of bad air and they are also more vulnerable to the effects of the bad air, such as asthma. One in four Hispanic kids living in poverty has been diagnosed with asthma. Unlike the one in thirteen middle class or wealthy white children. Lower income families commonly live in places with dirty air; this is because power plants and industrial boilers might be constructed near neighborhoods like this. Or it could be that these neighborhoods are near heavily trafficked roads, unlike richer neighborhoods that are not built close to major highways.  One of the most polluted cities in the U.S is New York, and studies show that one in three children living in east Harlem suffer from asthma.  But the more wealthy Upper East Side children show their rate as less than ten percent.  Although in walking distance the drastic change in numbers is due to many factors, such as the environmental exposures, lack of health care and chronic stress that usually comes with living in poverty. A study done by Matt Perzanowski, an environmental health scientist at Columbia University , shows a greater rate of childhood asthma in NYC neighborhoods that had more black carbon pollution in the air, cockroach and mouse allergens. Once a child has asthma, such allergens may trigger asthma attacks.“While people are working on green answers to air pollution, which can take a long time, we don’t want to wait” says Sarah Passons which lost her daughter to an asthma attack. People like her are helping to educate parents on how to protect their children; she is helping other kids have a better chance at a healthy life.

Huffington Post

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