Children in Taiwan at high risk from traffic-related asthma: report

04/11/2019 09:38 PM
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Photo for illustrative purposes only / CNA file photo
Photo for illustrative purposes only / CNA file photo

Taipei, April 11 (CNA) Taiwan has the fourth highest rate of new traffic-related child asthma cases among 194 nations according to a landmark study, the equivalent of 420 new cases every 100,000 children per year, according to a report in British newspaper The Guardian.

Four million children develop asthma every year as a result of air pollution from cars and trucks, equivalent to 11,000 new cases a day, the newspaper reported, citing a study published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health Wednesday.

The report noted that the damage to children's health is not limited to China and India, where pollution levels are particularly high. In U.K. and U.S. cities, researchers identified traffic pollution as being responsible for a quarter of all new childhood asthma cases.

By country, Kuwait has the highest per capita rate of new traffic-related asthma cases among the 194 nations analyzed, equivalent to 550 cases every 100,000 children per year, followed by United Arab Emirates (460/100,000) and Canada (450/100,000), according to the research.

Children are especially vulnerable to toxic air and exposure is also known to leave them with stunted lungs, the report said.

In response to the findings, Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare said Thursday that to reduce the harmful effects that air pollution can have on people's health, it will continue to work with the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

That will involve issuing alerts for air pollution whenever the EPA's Air Quality Index (AQI) monitoring network shows an excessive amount of suspended particles, including PM2.5, and harmful gases in the air per cubic meter.

(By Chen Yun-lu and Evelyn Kao)


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