Air pollution can cause serious health complications for young children, including asthma and lung cancer, according to a study by Singapore University researchers.
The study, which was conducted by a team of scientists from the School of Public Health and Social Work, surveyed 865 children aged between 10 and 14 years from a variety of different locales.
It found that in the children’s classrooms, there was a high incidence of asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Researchers found that the children who attended school during the week, and in classrooms where they were exposed to air pollution were more likely to develop asthma and bronchiolitis, as well as pneumonia.
The children who did not attend school were also more likely than their peers to develop respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing, and to have high levels of CO 2 in their blood.
The researchers also found that children who had asthma were more than twice as likely to suffer from bronchiocerebral palsy, a condition that results in paralysis of the chest.
The authors say their findings indicate that air pollution is not just a problem for the children and adults, but also for children and young people in general.
“The air pollution can have a devastating impact on children’s health, especially if they are young,” said Dr Rizwan Ahmad, one of the study’s authors.
“For many of these children, they may be the first ones in their family to get a child with asthma, and we need to do more to help prevent and manage the disease,” he added.
“This study shows that the air pollution has a significant impact on kids’ health.
We must all do more, and more urgently, to prevent and address the problem.”
According to the study, asthma rates among children in Singapore increased by 15.9 per cent between 2005 and 2015, while the rate among children aged 10 to 14 years increased by 12.6 per cent.
The rate of respiratory illness among children increased by 17.5 per cent, while pneumonia rates among them rose by 15 per cent and wheezings increased by 3.3 per cent from 2005 to 2015.
“These data show that air pollutants are linked to health problems in children, and that our children are not the only ones at risk,” Dr Ahmad said.
“We need to increase the awareness among all our young people about the risks of air pollution.”
The research team, led by Dr Hadi Mohamed, said that air quality in Singapore has improved dramatically in recent years, and the country’s air quality index has now increased to 70 per cent in urban areas, which means it has been reduced to its pre-air pollution level of 30 per cent for the last 15 years.
The researchers say the data should be used as a guide for the health and safety of the public, and particularly for the young people who will be affected.