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Around a third of all cases of childhood asthma in Europe may be caused by air pollution, scientists claim.
Researchers estimate more than 190,000 children could avoid the condition each year if governments worked harder to tackle toxic air.
UK - Cases - Condition - Year - Experts
In the UK alone, almost 45,000 cases of the common condition could be avoided every year, the experts predicted.
Study co-author Dr Haneen Khreis, of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, said the findings are 'a call for urgent action', adding: 'We can and should do something about it.'
Researchers - World - Health - Organisation - WHO
Researchers said the World Health Organisation (WHO) limits for some pollutants are not strict enough to protect children from asthma.
Pollution can damage airways, leading to inflammation and the development of asthma in children who are genetically at risk.
Study - Barcelona - Institute - Global - Health
The study, led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), looked at asthma rates among more than 63million children living in 18 European countries, including the UK.
They compared asthma incidence rates with estimations of levels of the pollutants the youngsters would be typically be exposed to.
Readings - Account - Kilometre
This was based on previous readings in 2010, taking into account around 1.5million square kilometre.
They calculated how many new cases could have been avoided if pollution levels were reduced to the lowest levels recorded using data from 41 previous studies.
Pollutants - Culprit - Cases - Child - Asthma
Three common pollutants were looked at to see which the worst culprit was when it came to new cases of child asthma.
On average, levels of PM2.5 are 29 times higher in Europe than the lowest recorded level recorded in literature.
Levels - Nitrogen - Dioxide - NO2 - Times
Average levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are 7.8 times higher than the lowest ever recorded, and levels of black carbon are 2.5 times higher.
If all 18 countries cut their levels of PM2.5 pollution, a total of 191,883 children (33 per cent) would never have developed asthma.
PM2.5, which is mainly produced...
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