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Is an increase in traffic pollution the

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Introduction

Tanushri Gukhool 11a Is an increase in traffic pollution the cause of asthma? Contents Page Introduction & pollution................................................pg 2 What is Asthma, the causes, symptoms and attacks.............pg 3 Signs & Symptoms of Asthma...............................................pg 4 Can air pollution harm people? ............................................pg 4 For Argument... The Lancet Asthma Study.......................................................pg 5 Children's Health Study............................................................pg 7 Against Argument... The Association of British Drivers Study..................................pg 9 Particulates - PM10..................................................................pg 10 Carbon Monoxide - CO...........................................................pg 11 Sulphur Dioxide - SO2 ...........................................................pg 13 Nitrogen Oxide - Nox.............................................................pg 14 Evaluation...............................................................................pg 15 Bibliography............................................................................pg 16 Pg 1 Introduction: In this Chemistry Case Study I will be investigating whether traffic pollution really causes asthma. There are many for's and against this statement. I will be using a range of evidence published by scientists, and will be looking at both sides of the argument. Asthma is a disease that affects your airways. Airways are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become swollen. What is air pollution? Air pollution is the presence of noxious substances in the air that we breathe. The air is filled with chemical substances and air pollutants which usually come from cars, industries and trucks. They pollute the air by refuelling cars, manufacturing and oil refining. There are two types of pollutions, Secondary and Primary. Primary pollution: emitted straight into the air Secondary pollution: chemical reactions between pollutants in the atmosphere. Five examples of pollutants are: Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) Carbon Monoxide (CO) Nitrogen Dioxide(NO 2) Ozone (O 3) Hydrocarbons Sulphur dioxide is a corrosive acid gas which combines with water vapour in the atmosphere to produce acid rain. SO2 in the air is also linked with asthma and chronic bronchitis. The main source of sulphur dioxide is power stations burning fossil fuels which contain sulphur. Major SO2 problems tend to occur in cities where coal is widely used for domestic heating, in industry and in power stations. ...read more.

Middle

The Study looked at almost 6000 children in 12 California communities over five years, revealing that 'the interquartile range increases in the concentration of NO2 (5.7 parts per billion), a traffic pollution surrogate, was positively associated with lifetime history of asthma diagnosis (odds ratio, 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-3.22).' Asthma was also shown to be linked to traffic pollution from research conducted, showing residential distance from highways and the number of people with asthma. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/551301_2 'Study results indicated that children's lung function growth was adversely affected by air pollution, new cases of asthma and asthma exacerbations were associated with ambient air pollution levels, and school absences from acute respiratory illnesses followed rises in ozone levels.' http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/abstracts/94-331.htm 'ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd said, "We've known for some time that smog can trigger attacks in asthmatics. This study has shown that ozone can cause asthma as well."' http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/nr013102.htm Pg7 'Figure 2: Distributed lag estimates and 95% confidence intervals for the effect of 10 am-6 pm O3 (per 20 ppb) on respiratory illness-related absences (Air Pollution and Absence Study)' This graph clearly shows that there is a positive link between the amount of traffic pollution in the air and the incidence rate of asthma. As the asthma rate of incidence increases, so does the amount of pollution. When one decreases, so does the other. 'Table 7. Short-Term Effects of Ozone (O3) [Percentage Change and 95% Confidence Limits (CL)] on School Absence Incidence Rates, Stratified by Long-Term Average 10 am-6 pm O3 and 24-Hour Average Respirable Particles (PM10) or Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), (Air Pollution and Absence Study)' http://www.epidem.com/pt/re/epidemiology/fulltext.00001648-200101000-00009.htm;jsessionid=J2CNQyGjHr9WlVnC3Hg5HnT20L36rLWmT4cFv3Ph2gThmlVz68H2!751744069!181195628!8091!-1 Pg 8 Against Argument: The Association of British Drivers Study "(We assume that the use of a greater than 100% reduction in combined pollutants signifies that individual percentage falls for each of the four pollutants was recorded, and these values added together by the authors.)" 'The car is not to blame for any real or apparent asthma epidemic', says the ABD, (Association of British Drivers). ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, the investigation was conducted when the four study areas had had high levels of pollution that exceeded the federal ozone health standard, such high levels of pollution no longer arise. The study also states that 'for children to be at risk, they would need to be frequently exposed to high ozone levels and took part in frequent, strenuous outdoor activities. Fortunately, they are do not.' This study bases their evidence on the fact the sufferer has been exposed to high levels of traffic pollution (which no longer exist) and subject to vigorous exercise. Lancet reported that after the study, results proved strenuous exercise combined with high pollution levels more than tripled the children's risk of developing asthma. When looking at the Children's Health Study it showed sufficient evidence that there was a positive correlation between the rise in traffic pollution and the incidence rate of asthma. They provided graphs showing this result and surveys that showed more and more children were missing school due to respiratory problems. However, the Children's Health Study was conducted in areas that had significantly high levels of pollution and chose to conduct their investigation near by busy roads and junctions. Although the Association of British Drivers study states that traffic pollution is not the cause of asthma, it is not completely reliable. As a drivers association studying the affects of traffic pollution on asthma, they are likely to be a biased source, being ion favor of cars. However, when looking at the graph they have provided us with, it concludes that as the rate of asthma incidence increases over a 20 year period, the amount of pollution decreases. They back up their points by using quotes from reliable sources, such as '"Air pollution does not cause asthma" from Dr Kenneth Calman, Government Chief Medical Officer. By doing this they support their argument that traffic pollution does not cause asthma, making it a more solid argument compared to this opppsition. ...read more.

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