Gas threat to asthmatics

November 24, 2000

Asthmatic children can suffer worse health as a result of indoor nitrogen dioxide pollution.

A study by Anoop Chauhan at Southampton University has revealed how high levels of the pollutant, commonly produced by gas cookers, combined with a subsequent common cold infection could exacerbate their condition.

The research involved 114 asthmatic children aged between eight and 11 years old in non-smoking households. Indoor nitrogen dioxide levels were measured weekly over two consecutive winters while the youngsters recorded their respiratory health. They also provided samples of mucus associated with any cold they might catch, so the scientists could identify the virus responsible.

Chauhan's results, published in his PhD thesis, established a link between the amount of nitrogen dioxide pollution in the week before a child contracted a cold and the severity of the asthma in the week after.

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