Asthma Linked to Traffic Pollution

Traffic Pollution

Recent studies have linked Asthma in children to living in close proximity to highway traffic pollution. The University of Southern California (USC) published its findings in the September 2012 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Research from the Keck School of Medicine at USC found that eight percent of the more than 300,000 cases of asthma in children living in Los Angeles County were directly linked to traffic-related air pollution at homes that were located within 250 feet of a busy roadway. Living near a roadway constantly exposes residents to the air pollution caused by the traffic.

Asthma’s causes are not yet fully understood by the medical community. Factors that are thought to develop in the overly sensitive immune systems of children include early-age respiratory infections, inherited traits, and environmental pollutants including second hand smoke and traffic related air pollution.

Immune system sensitivity appears to cause respiratory airways to swell when exposed to certain triggers. Triggers can include physical activity, and allergies to mold, pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. Other triggers to asthma may be viral infections (such as the common cold), exposure to air pollutants, such as traffic or tobacco smoke, and even exposure to weather changes or cold air.

Symptoms of common childhood asthma include wheezing while exhaling, frequent cough, chest congestion, and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms vary among individual patients and may get worse or better over time. While wheezing is most commonly associated with asthma, not all asthmatics respond to triggers with wheezing. Self-diagnosis of asthma is not recommended – always seek advice from your healthcare professional.

Identifying asthma triggers within the home environment may be the first step in relieving asthma symptoms. Alpha Environmental performs testing and inspections for mold along with other indoor triggers to those who suffer from asthma. Dust mites are a huge difficulty of over 40% of Americans, much less asthmatics. Alpha inspects and test for dust mites and other allergens, such as pet dander, insects and other pests. In addition, Alpha Environmental is able to test for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) such as those created by paints, lacquers, strippers, nail polish & removers, pesticides, cleaning supplies, copiers & printers, correction fluids & carbonless copy paper, glues & adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions. Organic chemicals are also common ingredients in many household products like many common cleaning products, disinfectants, degreasers, cosmetics, hobby products, and wax products.

Exposure to formaldehyde may also lead to exacerbation of asthma responses. Major indoor sources of formaldehyde are off-gassing from building materials and household furnishings such as wood flooring, cabinetry, particle board, paneling, plywood, some carpets and furniture. Formaldehyde is also found in tobacco smoke and indoor combustion sources. Alpha also tests for tobacco smoke and formaldehyde which is also included in many glues, permanent press fabrics, fiberboard, and plywood. Formaldehyde is also widely used as an industrial fungicide, germicide and disinfectant.

Identification of asthma triggers may facilitate the elimination of those triggers from within your indoor environment. If someone in your home suffers from asthma, call Alpha Environmental at (813) 961-6653 OR (727) 331-6653 to schedule your inspection and a recommendation for testing, if required.

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