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Exposures to metals and diesel emissions in air linked to respiratory symptoms in children
Date:11/23/2009

November 23, 2009 -- Exposure shortly after birth to ambient metals from residential heating oil combustion and particles from diesel emissions are associated with respiratory symptoms in young inner city children, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to analyze the effects of exposure to airborne metals in this very young population and the findings could have important public health implications.

Published in the December 2009 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the study also contributes to a further understanding of how specific sources of air pollution may impact child health.

The study compared pollutant levels with respiratory symptoms of children between birth and age two living in Northern Manhattan and in the South Bronx, and found that the airborne metals nickel and vanadium, were risk factors for wheezing in young children. Residual oil combustion for heating is a major source in New York City of these metals. Elemental carbon, an indicator of diesel exhaust, was associated with increased frequency of coughing only during cold and flu season (September through April).

"It appears that exposure to ambient metals and diesel-exhaust particles in our air may lead to several respiratory symptoms for young children living in urban areas," said Rachel L. Miller, MD, associate professor of Medicine and Environmental Health Sciences (in Pediatrics) at New YorkPresbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and co-deputy director of CCCEH at the Mailman School of Public Health and senior investigator on the study. "The effects of exposure to airborne metals had not been studied previously in children so young, and these findings could have important public health implications for members of inner-city communities in New York City and
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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