A study entitled "In-Home Particle Concentrations and Childhood Asthma Morbidity " published in the February 2009 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives indicates that tiny peaces of matter found indoors may aggravate asthma. Conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University, the study followed 150 young children with asthma for six months, periodically testing their bedrooms for particulate matter pollution or tiny particles made up of a mixture of dust and water that easily enter the respiratory system. Because children spend an average of 80% of their time inside, any link found between this matter and an increase in asthmatic symptoms could have serious consequences.
In the end a link was indeed found, for the researchers were able to correlate an increase of particulate matter in the air with a worsening of respiratory problems. For every additional 10 micrograms of matter per cubic meter of air, there was a 6% increase in days of coughing, wheezing or tightness in the chest and a 7% increase in symptoms so bad that they prevented speech. The same increase was also associated with a 4% increase in days when rescue medication was needed.
Particulate matter is thought to cause a variety of problems including conjunctivitis, rashes, allergies and headaches. There are also many sources for this pollution. Much of it can come from exterior sources like vehicular emissions through open windows and doors. Moisture from showers, washing machines and household cleaning contributes to the growth of Bacteria. Households that frequently contain tobacco smoke, burning oils such in lamps and cooking, open fires and recent painting also will have higher levels of air pollutants. To read more about these risks, particularly in children, examine the German government’s publication A Livable Environment for Our Children.
To learn more about the chemicals that can cause and aggravate asthma, as well as how European Union chemical’s policy has the potential visit the Chemical Health Monitor’s webpage about the disease here.
Written on 25 March 2009.