Pollution is synonymous with contamination and poison. It is something in the environment that causes harmful effects to living beings, whether it occurs naturally or not. Nothing is safe from pollution, including land, air, and water—which is why researchers want to know whether pollution is actively hurting the younger generations’ growth.
What Causes Air Pollution?
Car exhaust, smoke released by factories and industries, tobacco smoke, and the burning of fossil fuels like coal all contribute to air pollution on some level. High amounts of particulate matter—small solids and liquids suspended in the air—and chemicals like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide end up in our lungs as we breathe polluted air.
How are Children Affected?
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles performed a study in the early 2000s to see if air pollution affected infants while they were still in the womb. They discovered that pregnant women exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide and particulate matter during pregnancy had higher rates of premature births, babies born with lower birth weights, and babies born with heart defects. Infants exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide after birth also have a higher mortality rate in the first three months of life.
Air pollution causes lung disease, like asthma, in children and especially affects active children in areas with high amounts of carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the air. A public health expert who earned their MSW online says children are especially susceptible to air pollution, since they breathe faster than adults do. This, added to the fact that children are generally more active than adults, puts children in heavily-polluted areas at a serious risk.
Are Childhood Illness Rates Increasing?
According to Partners Asthma Center, asthma rates continue to grow.Over the last few years, asthma rates have increased worldwide. Some researches blame air pollution for increased rates of lung deficiencies and respiratory infections in children.
How Can We Reduce Air Pollution?
The largest contributor to air pollution is car exhaust. Try carpooling, biking, or walking to reduce the number of cars on the road. Turn the car off when idling in the parking lot and regularly maintain your vehicle.
Pollution is a well-known issue and it’s affecting the growth and health of future generations. Make efforts to reduce air pollution one step at a time before it becomes unmanageable.