Air pollution and children’s health


Air pollution cannot be considered just a regional problem but is a global issue. In recent years billions of tons of carbon dioxide and millions of metric tons of methane, the two key greenhouse gases, have been emitted annually into the atmosphere from production and burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation.
Gases and Particulate Matters have many adverse effects on human health as a consequence of oxidative stress at the cellular level with alteration of the intracellular redox balance stimulating the production of pro inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.
Children are more susceptible to air pollution than adults and the effects of atmospheric pollutant have been demonstrated on the foetus and pre-school child.
Ultrafine particles generated by traffic emissions have been suggested to have particularly bad effects on the airways due to high level of pulmonary deposition and their ability to induce inflammation and oxidative stress.
To improve air quality and reduce air pollution the WHO, supported by 109 scientific Societies, Scientific Associations and Patients’ Associations, issued new guidelines to reduce atmospheric pollutant in the world. It is important that all pediatricians continue to advocate for measures to protect the foetus and the child from atmospheric pollution as well as treating the consequences.

Air pollution has had a huge increase in the last 70 years. Gases and Particulate Matter directly irritate the airways but can damage all organs of our body carried by the bloodstream. Proactive initiatives are necessary to protect the fetus and child.

Table of Contents: Vol. 1, n. 1, March 2023

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