According to a Medical Xpress news report, if the concentrations of particles of less than 2.5 microns emitted by vehicles are reduced to levels proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), hospital admissions of children with respiratory diseases can be decreased.

Calculations by researchers from the University of Seville for that city indicate that this decrease in hospital admissions would amount to a daily savings of 200 euros. In recent years, the so-called PM2.5 particles have been found to have harmful effects for health and have become an indicator of urban pollution of anthropogenic origin.

The Medical Xpress news report notes that in large cities like Madrid studies have already linked high concentrations of PM2.5 with an increase in hospital admissions, which has now been confirmed for children’s respiratory illnesses in Seville by researchers from the University of Seville. The researchers reviewed the measurements of these small particles recorded between 2007 and 2011 in the Seville air, together with almost 2,130 unscheduled hospital admissions for children aged 0 to 14 years with respiratory conditions during the same period.

The scientists also examined the data with mathematical models. The results of the analysis show that high concentrations of PM2.5 have a negative effect on respiratory illnesses in children, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. The average daily values of PM2.5 in Seville measure around 17.3 micrograms/m3; concentrations, which exceeds the 10 ?g/m3 recommended by the World Health Organization.

Rocío Román, one of the researchers of the study, says, “We have calculated that a reduction in the average annual concentration of PM2.5 particles to meet the suggested WHO level of 10 ?g/m3 would help to reduce hospital admissions of children due to respiratory conditions by 0.09 cases a year.” Román adds, “at first glance, this may seem like a small figure, but we are talking about the most severe and critical cases for children’s health, given that these are the ones that end up being hospitalized, so their reduction is rated very highly.”

As one of the main concerns is the low number of centers that record the contamination of these small particles, Román states, “It is not only necessary for the maximum limit values to be reduced to levels that are not harmful for human health and especially for children, who are much more vulnerable, but this awareness must be accompanied by an extension of PM2.5 measurements in different places in Spain and other countries.”

Source: Medical Xpress