Air pollution responsible for half of childhood asthma cases in Barcelona

Air pollution responsible for half of childhood asthma cases in Barcelona

Air quality has become an increasingly pressing issue for global cities over the past decade. As innovators and manufacturers of air quality monitoring systems (available worldwide), this is something we are working with smart city teams and local authorities to help tackle.

The health risks of air pollution have been extensively documented by the World Health Organisation, or WHO. In fact, in 2019 the WHO identified air pollution as the single greatest environmental risk to human health. Microscopic pollutants in the air can damage the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, causing harm to the lungs, heart and brain. This is a contributing factor in up to seven million deaths per year globally from diseases such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

The first stage of addressing this global issue is to understand it. This is where Sonitus Systems' air quality monitoring products and services come in. Our innovative system empowers cities with actionable insights that can be used to direct future policy-making. On a more immediate and human level, these insights allow local governments to take steps to improve the quality of life of their residents and visitors, for example, by issuing real-time air quality warnings at certain times to people who might be most at risk.

As reported in a recent article by Pippa Neill in Air Quality News, air pollution is to blame for almost half of all asthma attacks in children in the city of Barcelona. This article is based on research that was published by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal). Data was collected from a wide range of cases of asthma attacks in children living in the city, aged from 1 to 18 years old. Using a land use regression model, they approximated the link between three pollutants, namely nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and black carbon, and asthma.

The city currently has two schemes to measure the risk of air pollution on asthma in young children. Researchers using the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for air pollution discovered that when proper guidelines are met, and air pollution brought down to the minimum level, as many as 3,000 cases of childhood asthma attacks could be avoided each year. Significantly, even with existing levels of air pollution, Barcelona could put a stop to nearly 1,000 childhood asthma attacks immediately by simply adhering to the WHO action guidelines. The journalist quotes David Rojas, researcher at ISGlobal and lead author of this study, who points out that this study is the first to measure the impact of air pollution on children in the context of asthma attacks. It is worth pointing out that, during the course of the study, he identified that the majority of these cases occur among the "disadvantaged groups in the city". He further notes that, as in most cities around the world, Barcelona's more financially stable residents tend to reside in areas with less traffic and air pollution.

This is an increasingly topical global conversation and you can read more about the significance of air quality monitoring here:

Does your organisation require air quality monitoring? Sonitus Systems offers comprehensive air quality monitoring, using the latest technology and automated systems. We simplify the air monitoring process, giving you access to real-time data and online reporting. For more details on our air quality monitoring products and services, contact the team at Sonitus Systems

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