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Mehrere Luftschadstoffe können bei Kindern Asthmasymptome auslösen

von NFI Redaktion

Recent analysis suggests that exposure to multiple combinations of toxic air pollutants in children can trigger asthma symptoms.

Published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the study revealed that in 269 elementary school children diagnosed with asthma in Spokane, Washington, 25 different combinations of air pollutants were associated with asthma symptoms. Consistent with previous research, the study conducted by researchers at Washington State University showed a socioeconomic inequality: a group of children from a lower-income neighborhood was more exposed to toxic combinations, with a total of 13 out of the 25 identified in this study.

“It’s not just one pollutant that can be linked to the consequences of asthma. This study examined the diversity and combinations of air toxins that may be associated with asthma symptoms.”


Solmaz Amiri, Lead Author, WSU Researcher at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

While other studies focused on a limited number of pollutants, Amiri and her colleagues used machine learning techniques to analyze the potential effects of exposure to 109 air pollutants and their combinations on asthma outcomes.

The researchers relied on data collected and modeled by the Environmental Protection Agency on air pollutants present in individual neighborhoods around 10 elementary schools in Spokane. They also accessed anonymized school data to obtain reports from students diagnosed with asthma, who presented symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulties, and the need to use an inhaler.

The study examined asthma symptoms occurring in the six months before the start of pandemic lockdowns in March 2020. The researchers then linked this data with air pollutant exposures that occurred within those six months, as well as two longer-term exposure periods of three years and five years prior to the onset of asthma symptoms.

The researchers found that three specific pollutants were significantly associated with asthma symptoms across all three exposure periods.

While the toxins involved may have unfamiliar names – 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 2-nitropropane, and 2,4,6-trichlorophenol – they originate from commonly used materials. The first is a widely used industrial solvent but was previously used in household cleaners and adhesives. The second is an additive to paints and other coatings, and the third is an antiseptic and mildew inhibitor that was banned in the 1980s but may still be present in some previously manufactured pesticides and preservatives.

“Some of these air toxins have been phased out in the U.S., but they can still be found in materials that may be stored or that people have in their backyard or garage. Other air toxins still exist in the environment at least,” said Amiri.

The goal of this study was not to pinpoint the source of a single air pollutant or determine the exact reason why a group of children from a lower-income neighborhood was highly exposed to air pollutants. However, proximity to known sources of air pollution could play a role, Amiri said, such as living near a heavily trafficked highway or facilities that use solvents, such as paint manufacturers or factories.

The identification of a likely socioeconomic disparity in air pollutant exposure aligns with previous research showing that children from lower-income areas, often indicated by schools with a higher percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, are exposed to a variety of air pollutants in the neighborhoods where they live.

While the current study is limited to the mid-sized city of Spokane, Amiri noted that the results align with another study in New York City, which found similar air pollutants significantly associated with asthma outcomes.

“In both Spokane and New York City, regardless of the environment – how large or small the cities are – these air toxins appear to affect asthma in children,” she said.

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Ramboll Foundation.

Source:

Washington State University

Journal Reference:

Amiri, S., et al. (2024). Machine learning-driven identification of air toxics mixtures associated with asthma symptoms in elementary school children in Spokane, Washington, USA. Science of the Total Environment. doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.171102.

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