children are more likely to be hospitalized for respiratory problems,
especially asthma, than due to any other cause.† Epidemiological studies do show clear
associations between episodes of high air pollution and subsequent hospital
visits for respiratory problems.†
Outdoor air pollutants such as ground-level ozone, particulates and
acid aerosols are important risk factors that worsen existing disease
or trigger asthma attacks.
|The chart here
also shows you data indicating that the poorest children in Toronto
have nearly double the risk of respiratory hospitalizations compared children
from families in the highest income bracket.†
(This phenomenon has been observed in other populations where low SES
children suffer relatively greater from asthma symptoms.)
respiratory effects in all kids range from subtle, non-specific symptoms such
as sore throat, cough and wheeze, through to more serious effects such as an
increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).† (Essentially they fall into a the health
effects pyramid as described by Dr. Basrur in her address this morning.)
|Exposure to air
pollution in the young may also permanently affect lung capacity.† It may also predispose children to
developing chronic respiratory illness or put them at higher risk of ill
effects from other environmental exposures later in life.
|Exposure to air
pollution is widespread and obviously not just affecting children as you
heard this morning.† The TPH report of
May, 2000 estimated that in 1995, 1000 premature deaths in Toronto were
attributable to air pollution.
|itís also not
just exposure to outdoor pollution that affects respiratory health in kids.