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Traffic Pollution Associated With Wheezing in Infants

Second study finds metals and elemental carbon linked to respiratory problems

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Infants exposed to traffic-related pollution are at higher risk of developing wheeze, according to two studies in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

In the first study, Patrick H. Ryan, Ph.D., from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues examined the association of exposure to traffic-related particles and indoor endotoxin with persistent wheezing in 624 children from birth to 3 years of age living in Cincinnati. They found that children exposed to high levels of traffic-related particles before 1 year of age had a higher risk of persistent wheezing (odds ratio, 1.75), which was worsened by co-exposure to endotoxin (odds ratio, 5.85).

In the second study, Molini M. Patel, Ph.D., and colleagues from Columbia University in New York City examined the association of exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (metals and elemental carbon) with respiratory symptoms in 687 children up to 2 years of age living in New York City. They found that higher levels of nickel and vanadium were associated with a higher risk of wheeze, while higher levels of elemental carbon were associated with cough in cold and flu season.

"These results suggest that exposure to ambient metals and elemental carbon from heating oil and/or traffic at levels characteristic of urban environments may be associated with respiratory symptoms among very young children," Patel and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Ryan
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Abstract - Patel
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