British scientists have found that the lives of children daily exposed to the polluted air from nearby roads result in slower lung development by 14 percent.
The study found that the risk of developing lung cancer in children living 50 meters from a busy road could be 10 per cent higher, according to the BBC.
Research in 13 cities in the United Kingdom and Poland indicates that air pollution is more likely to develop heart disease, stroke, heart failure and bronchitis.
Experts from King's College London analyzed the health of people living in areas with high air pollution and compared it to the health of the general population.
They focused not only on hospitalization and deaths, but also on symptoms such as pneumonia.
The study found that air pollution along roads has slowed normal lung development in children by about 14 percent in Oxford, 13 percent in London, 8 percent in Birmingham, 5 percent in Liverpool, 3 percent in Nottingham and 4 percent in Southampton.
They pointed out that reducing air pollution by a fifth in the cities mentioned would result in a decrease in the number of cases of children with symptoms of bronchitis by many thousands.
"Air pollution in an invisible way is having a negative impact on our health, and especially the health of our children," said Rob Hughes, Ph.D., a fellow at the Clean Air Foundation.
"The survey reveals a public health crisis that is affecting people across the UK and indicates that all political parties must prioritize clean air in cities," he said.
Dr. Penny Woods, executive director of the British Lung Health Foundation, has called on the UK government to make a legal commitment to respect the goals of the World Health Organization when it comes to influencing the reduction of polluted air in the country.
According to the WHO recommendation, clean air is considered to be air that does not contain more than 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter throughout the year.
"We know that air pollution prevents the normal development of our children's lungs and exacerbates symptoms among children with lung disease," Woods says.
The study was conducted by an association of 15 non-governmental organizations dealing with health and environmental conservation, including the British Lung Health Foundation.
City authorities say toxic air pollution in central London has dropped by a third since new parking billing zones were introduced, and ultra-low nitrogen (ULEZ) levels have dropped 30 percent in the first six months of the program.
Uredila: Sanja Paić
Foto: Unsplash / Hugo Pretorius