Find out how exposure to air pollution affects children’s health and why it’s worse for children than adults.

(Clue: it’s to do with our lungs).

Because children’s lungs are still developing, air pollution can have a bigger impact on children’s health than it does on adults’.

"Children's developing organs and immune systems - and smaller bodies and airways - make them especially vulnerable to dirty air," says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation.

Here are some of the ways air pollution affects children’s heath:

  • High air pollution is linked to low birth weight and premature births
  • Being exposed to air pollution during pregnancy and after birth affects a baby’s lung function development
  • There is a strong link between air pollution and the worsening of asthma symptoms; it may also play a part in causing asthma in some people
  • The more children with asthma are exposed to air pollution, the more they suffer with long-term respiratory symptoms
  • Higher amounts of air pollutants are associated with more asthma attacks, more hospital admissions and a higher mortality rate
  • Exposure to air pollution is also linked to more coughs and bronchitis
  • Air pollution can increase the risk of getting bacterial pneumonia

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