• Tech Tech

Study underscores children's health benefits of city's pollution reduction efforts: 'This is one of the first studies describing the impact of pollution'

"New policies must take into account children's health."

"New policies must take into account children's health."

Photo Credit: iStock

Breakthrough research has come to light on how curbing the use of dirty fuel sources leads to healthier children.

As detailed by MedicalXpress, Krakow, Poland, saw a 40% reduction in PM2.5 air pollution from 2010 to 2019 after policies were implemented to limit coal and other fuel sources for home heating, according to research published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The study modeled two scenarios to understand the impact of cleaner air, predicting how many health gains would occur had restrictions been in place sooner. 

Both instances showed that improved air quality would have led to significant decreases in asthma cases among children between one and 14 years old, fewer pre-term births, and fewer cases of low birth weight, which can happen to mothers exposed to low levels of air pollution.

"This is one of the first studies describing the impact of pollution," said Dr. Agnieszka Pac, the study's first author and chair of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow.

Of all power in the U.S., 79% comes from dirty energy sources, as of a 2021 Energy Information Administration report. Swapping dirty energy sources for clean ones in the home and reducing air pollution in communities is crucial because children risk developing breathing issues from dirty air. 

Experiments like the one in Poland will help combat asthma, which is the number one chronic disease in children and is one of the most costly diseases in the U.S., according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

The study noted that coal-burning ovens were the main culprits for Poland's air pollution. Plenty of research has come out on how using coal and wood in residential settings leads to breathing issues and increases cancer risk — even in rural areas around the globe. 

Cleaner air would also mean fewer missed school days, a significant problem among children. A recent study published in the National Library of Medicine found that even low levels of air pollution are associated with children missing school. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has launched several campaigns to educate the public on the positives of reducing air pollution around schools. However, plenty of work is left to give children a chance to have a healthy beginning to their lives.

"New policies must take into account children's health, especially given that children often engage in vigorous outdoor activities, making them vulnerable to higher doses of pollutants," Agnieszka Pac told Medical Xpress.

Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.

Cool Divider