Munich, Germany – A new study of several thousand children suggests that allergic diseases appear more often in those who grow up near busy roads. The six-year study was conducted under the direction of German research group Helmholtz Zentrum München and published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The scientists based their analysis on the corresponding distance of the home to busy streets and modelled values of air pollution with fine dust, diesel soot and nitrogen dioxide. The data covered 3,061 six-year-old children from Munich and surrounding areas and tracked their development from birth.

The study showed an escalation of asthmatic bronchitis and allergic sensitization to pollen and other common allergens with increasing exposure to fine dust, while increased exposure to nitric oxide was linked to increases in eczema. The researchers also found that children who lived less than 50 m from a very busy main road were between one and 50 per cent more likely to contact asthmatic bronchitis, hay fever, eczema and allergic sensitization than children living in more distant places.

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