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When children have breathing problems
Date:7/21/2009

La Plata/Leipzig. Increasing numbers of children around the world are suffering from respiratory problems coughing, wheezing and asthma attacks. Although the key external causes of these diseases were identified a long time ago (traffic and industrial air pollution), it had not previously been possible to distinguish clearly between these two factors so as to have a targeted impact on them. Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Leipzig carried out research in this area together with colleagues from the University of La Plata and can now confirm that air pollution caused by industry has even more grave effects than vehicle exhaust fumes.

The recently completed study on 'Combined effects of airborne pollutants as risk factors for environmental diseases' was conducted as part of a long-standing collaborative venture, supported by the international office of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, between the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the University of Leipzig and the University of La Plata in Argentina. The results have been published in several internationally-respected journals, including the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Toxicology.

The UFZ researchers, who work in the Division of Health Research in Leipzig, concentrated on three courses of analysis: "Firstly," says Leipzig-based biologist Andrea Mller, "we used measurement techniques to draw accurate conclusions about the actual pollution of breathing air. We filtered out particulate matter of different grain sizes, polycyclic aromatic compounds, such as benzo(a)pyrene, that adhere to these particles, and volatile organic compounds, such as benzene and hexane. Secondly, we tested their toxic and mutagenic properties. We selected four comparative source regions: a residential area in the immediate vicinity of Argentina's largest oil refinery, an area with heavy traff
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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