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Road traffic confirmed as cause of lung damage

Carbon particles in air pollution from road traffic do, as

suspected, damage children's lung function, researchers have demonstrated.

A UK study examined the sputum of 114 healthy children and found the more carbon there was present in airway macrophages, the greater the reduction in lung function.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, provide a firm

evidence base to aid GPs in

providing advice to parents

of children with severe asthma.

For each increase of 1µm2 in carbon content, researchers found a 17 per cent reduction in the predicted FEV1.

Study leader Dr Jonathan Grigg, senior lecturer in paediatric respiratory medicine at the University of Leicester at

the time of the study, said: 'There is a dose-dependent inverse association between the carbon content of airway macrophages and lung function in children.'

The variation in carbon levels was 'primarily due to emissions from road traffic', he said.

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