, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 95-102
Date: 13 Jul 2010

Effects of air pollution on the respiratory health of children: a study in the capital city of India

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Abstract

Urban air pollutants cause a wide range of acute and chronic effects on the respiratory system of children that can be devastating. In this study, the respiratory health of children was assessed in the capital city of India where the level of air pollution is much above the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The study was carried out in Delhi, and the findings were compared with those of rural West Bengal and Uttaranchal. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms was determined through a structured respiratory symptomlogy questionnaire and personal interviews. Air quality data were collected from Central and State Pollution Control Boards and also obtained by direct measurements using a portable aerosol monitor. Based on the data collected on the cohort of children participating in this study, 32.1% of children in Delhi suffered from respiratory problems in contrast to 18.2% of rural children (control). The respiratory symptoms were more prevalent in girls than in boys. A strong, statistically significant positive association was observed between PM10 level in Delhi’s air and the prevalence of lower respiratory tract symptoms.