Car Exhaust and Kids

Kids may just be the right height to be more susceptible to exhaust fumes. (Photo: mpaniti/Shutterstock)

According to some early findings from a British study conducted at the Centre for Paediatrics at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, kids may be more affected by the particulate pollution released from cars than health experts previously realized.

In the study, researchers analyzed the lung capacity of 8- and 9-year-old kids and found it to be 5 percent lower than the national average. In addition, 7 percent of the children surveyed had lung function reduced to a level internationally regarded as hazardous.

Why are kids more affected by vehicular pollution than adults? Researchers think it's a height issue. As in ... our kids are just the right height to catch the biggest whiff of exhaust fumes when a car drives by. For this study, researchers placed pollution monitors along the roadside at a height of about three feet. The positioning had more to do with avoiding vandalism than anything else. But what the scientists found was that the particulate pollution levels were actually higher at this height than at any other. And it just so happens that this is the perfect height to hit many small children directly in the lungs.

The findings from this one study are by no means conclusive, but it could lead to far-reaching changes in say, schools that have a playground right near a parking lot or roadside.

[via BBC News]