Asma infantil: Contaminación Vial, Responsable Directa

Según investigadores estadounidenses, las partículas que escapan de los gases de escape de los vehículos son responsables de 11,000 casos nuevos de asma infantil todos los días.

Se estima que, tres de cada cuatro niños están expuestos al aire tóxico todos los días, un nuevo estudio publicado en The Lancet Planetary Health el jueves 11 de abril revela que cuatro millones de nuevos casos de asma infantil cada año están relacionados con la contaminación vial.

Eso es nada menos que 11.000 todos los días. En general, esto representa el 13% de los diagnósticos en niños. Esta proporción se eleva incluso al 31% en Corea del Sur, o al 30% en Kuwait, Qatar y los Emiratos Árabes Unidos.

A nivel de ciudad, Shanghai (China) tiene la mayor concentración de diagnósticos de patología por tráfico rodado, con un 48% de los casos relacionados con ella.

Otras ocho ciudades chinas siguen a las mayores megápolis del mundo en el ranking, con Moscú (Rusia) y Seúl (Corea del Sur) añadidas. París ocupa buena posición, con un tercio de los casos de asma infantil debidos a esta contaminación.

Estándares que no protegen contra el asma

Como recordó la UNICEF en su informe del 4 de abril, los jóvenes están más expuestos que sus padres a la contaminación atmosférica, debido a que sus cuerpos aún están en desarrollo y a que su frecuencia respiratoria es 1,5 veces mayor.

El Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia también señaló que “su pequeño tamaño los acerca más que los adultos a los tubos de escape, especialmente cuando están en cochecitos o caminando por calles estrechas”.

Según esta nueva investigación, realizada por investigadores de la Universidad George Washington (Estados Unidos) a partir de datos de 194 países y 125 ciudades durante el año 2015, casi todos (92%) los jóvenes que desarrollan trastornos del sistema respiratorio debidos a la contaminación vial viven “en áreas que cumplen con los niveles recomendados” de contaminantes establecidos por la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), incluyendo la concentración media anual de dióxido de nitrógeno (NO2).

“Desde hace mucho tiempo se sabe que la contaminación del aire exterior puede conducir a un empeoramiento del asma, pero sólo recientemente se ha identificado como una causa de nuevos casos”, dice France Info Stephen Holgate, profesor de inmunofarmacología de la Universidad de Southampton (Reino Unido) que no participó en el estudio.

“Al vincular los datos de salud con la modelización de la contaminación, los autores demuestran claramente que, a niveles inferiores a los recomendados por la OMS, la exposición al NO2 está relacionada con nuevos casos de asma”, continuó.

En vista de estos resultados, los científicos sugieren que los estándares de contaminación deberían ser más estrictos. Según las estimaciones de la OMS, 235 millones de personas en todo el mundo tienen asma. 400.000 mueren por ello cada año. También es la enfermedad crónica más común en los niños.

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