Experts: smog threatens children and affects future health

Polluted air affects not only health, but also the intelligence of children and all of later life. To change this, in addition to systemic solutions, a change in habits is needed, experts said at the conference "Air pollution and children’s health.

– It is coal-burning stoves that account for the largest percentage of sources of deł emissions of air pollution in Poland – m She saw during a video presentation, prof. Frederica Perera of Columbia University. Researchers from the U.S. and the Jagiellonian University Medical College conducted a study of smog-exposed pregnant women in New York and Krakow, Poland. – In their children, they observed reduced birth weight, smaller perimeter d head, lower intelligence at age 5, behavioral problems at age 6-7, symptoms of ADHD, anxiety and depression at age 9, MRI-visible changes in the m and a higher risk of asthma. These effects have a measurable impact on academic performance, earnings in p Later in life and continued health. Reducing fossil fuel consumption would yield not only health benefits, but also economic benefits, Perera calculated.

As recalled by Prof. Boleslaw Samolinski of the Medical University of Warsaw, especially lnie tragic in its consequences was the London smog of December 1952, when 12,000 people died b. As a result, Londoners have been banned from smoking in fireplaces. Also in Poland, the main A major problem is "low emissions" – pollution emitted by often outdated stoves. Contrary to appearances, the air is cleaner in the center of Warsaw than on the outskirts, where stoves in single-family homes are often fueled with whatever they can find. This was proven, for example, by air studies in Wawer.

The impact of polluted air on health is manifold. Promotes allergic diseases, hypertension and cardiovascular complications. While on the Coast air pollution shortens life by 15-16 months, in Lesser Poland – by as much as 43.

In Poland, air quality is shaped primarily by the sources of municipal and road transport – old stoves and old cars. – Coal will continue to be the basis of energy generation in Poland for a long time to come, it is necessary to replace local furnaces with professional energy, reduce flow losses, save energy, introduce technological advances, and above all – change people’s behavior – m prof. Samolinski. And in case of smog? It is necessary to check the results of monitoring dust concentrations, use an efficient HEPA filter in the car and, when walking, an appropriate mask, use an air purifier at home, he added.

As pointed out by Prof. Wojciech Hanke, national consultant in environmental health, there is evidence that reducing exposure to dust can improve health. For example, in the Austrian city of Linz, the risk of asthma in children has decreased due to this.

– In cf In comparison with other European countries, Poland The country’s coal industry is also affected by higher concentrations of particulate pollutants and benzoapirene,” pointed out Prof. Henryk Mazurek, head of the Department of Pneumonology and Cystic Fibrosis in Rabka-Zdrój. Most air pollutants cause respiratory ailments, including exacerbations of ill b allergies (especially asthma). Oncological sequelae can be expected in children exposed to pollution in a dozen years or so. Masks and home air purification devices can help c, but reduce the content of pollutants in the air by several tens of percent at most.

Children are particularly lnie threatened by smog due to the kr t smaller and narrower airways, an immature detoxification system, frequent breathing through the mouth, significant physical activity and spending time outdoors. Per kilogram of body weight, children have higher minute ventilation than adults and a long life expectancy.

Experts remind that the smallest particles (2 to 0.1 micrometers and smaller) easily enter not only the lungs, but also the blood. – Contaminated air irritates mucus ki causes local and systemic inflammatory changes. It can also act indirectly by changing the bacterial flora of dr g respiratory – m ili prof. Mazurek.

As he stressed, smog to smog does not ny. Rather formed at low temperatures smog type "London’s" form – pr cz carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon – dust and sulfur oxides. In warm climates, Los Angeles-type smog is formed, for which rego characteristic are nitrogen oxides and ozone. As the climate warms, LA-type smog may begin to prevail in our country.

In addition to exhaust fumes emitted by household stoves or cars, an important threat can be the dusting of wt rne, which re studied by Dr. Monika Rusin of the Medical University of Silesia. Pobrała 400 pr bek in 15 cities in the G agglomeration rnośląska.

In the case of one playground in playgrounds and playing fields in Sosnowiec concentrations of heavy metals (zinc, cadmium, lead (w) in the ground exceeded standards by up to 30 times. Instead of clean sand, waste from nearby dumps was dumped there. In Olkusz, on the other hand, where a skatepark has been set up in a reclaimed galman (zinc ore) mine, the level of cadmium in the soil has exceeded the norm by up to more than 100–times (more than 200 milligrams per kilogram of dry weight, with 2 milligrams allowed). It is not known whether the heavy metals in the soil are the residue from the mine, or whether the waste from the waste piles has been applied.

Heavy metals can cause organ damage, promote allergies (zinc), cancer (cadmium), and even lower intelligence and impair concentration (lead ). In the case of the study area in danger are zar no particles of pollutants floating in the air, as well as present on hands. Children are particularly lnie at risk because they often put their dirty hands in their mouths, more easily absorb metals from the digestive tract and dr g of respiration, and their metabolism is faster than in an adult.

Among d preventive measures – opr cz monitoring and heavy metal content in play areas and securing recreational areas – Dr. Rusin recommends reinforcing proper behavior in children. This includes, for example, washing hands before meals, changing clothes after playing outside, and washing toys used in the playground.