• Children Monitored to Gauge EU Pollution Impact

Air Clean Up

Children Monitored to Gauge EU Pollution Impact

May 26 2015

A multimillion pound study was recently launched to assess the impact of the environment on the health and development of children. More than 1,000 families from across Europe are monitoring and logging everything that they came into contact with - inside and outside the home – with the aim of measuring the pollutants that they absorb.

Seven-year old Leona, from Bradford, didn't really understand what she was taking part in, or the implications of it, but this large scale EC-funded study costing £17million, involved 1,200 sets of parents and children in countries across Europe, including the UK, France, Lithuania, Greece and Spain. The study was an opportunity to look at a whole range of environmental factors and quantify they have effects on our children.

Measuring everything the children came into contact with

The accompanying 'box of gadgets' required to undertake the study was delivered to each of the many households involved and included technology designed to measure everything the children come into contact with outside their home.

Additionally, parents were required to keep a diary of everything – absolutely everything - that their children came into contact with inside their home, from food to shampoo. Equipment used to measure the effects of the external environment included a UV monitor worn on the wrist, a GPS tracker and a backpack containing an air monitoring system.

Putting the pieces of the jigsaw together

Professor John Wright, from the Bradford Institute for Health Research said: ''What we are trying to do is put all the different pieces of the jigsaw together to get a complete picture of how our complex physical and chemical environment affects our health''. He believes the study is very important to help us understand how we can shape our environment to ensure our health and well-being in the future.

It's likely to be a year before the results of the study are published. Leona's mother, Helen, is excited about the study and looking forward to hearing the results and finding out about the implications and the potential benefits for future generations. Leona, meanwhile, was clearly taking her new job very much in her stride, acknowledging the importance of the study, and her part in it, with a shy smile.

Canadian research

Other similar studies have taken place and the Telegraph reported the finding of a Canadian study which used data from 2,477 children. The children were aged one years old and assess for sensitivity to ten allergens including cat, dog, dust mites, cockroach, fungus, milk, egg, soy and peanut.

Of the participants, one in six infants were sensitive to at least one of the allergens. The study suggested that babies who are exposed to higher levels of pollution are more likely to develop allergies.

To find out more about health impact of pollution, read New Study Suggests Short-Term Exposure to Pollution Increases the Risk of Stroke and EU Environment Watchdog Claims Air Pollution Kills Thousands in Europe Every Year.


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