Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"NYU Study Links Bronx Pollution To Asthma" WNBC 10/16/6

NYU Study Links Bronx Pollution To Asthma

POSTED: 7:18 pm EDT October 16, 2006
UPDATED: 8:16 pm EDT October 16, 2006

NEW YORK -- High levels of pollution in the South Bronx may be related to an asthma epidemic experienced by the area's children, according to a new 5-year study released by New York University on Monday.

Researches from NYU's School of Medicine and the Wagner Graduate School analyzed data collected by children wearing special backpacks, which measured the air in their homes, neighborhoods, and their schools.

Lucinda Lewis, a mother whose 16-year-old son has asthma, said she believes the pollution is caused by all the traffic.

"There's more and more traffic coming in this area," she said.

During the study, the symptoms of asthma doubled among elementary school children on days with a greater-than-average amount of traffic.

"This study points specifically to trans and traffic pollution as a major cause of high asthma rates," said Rep. Jose Serrano in a press conference held Monday.

George Thurston, from the NYU School of Medicine, said the diesel soot was most associated with the worsening of the children's symptoms.

Twenty percent of children in the Bronx attend school within 500 feet of a major highway, which are typically places where pollution exceeds the acceptable levels, the report said.

Derrick Reliford, one of the children who participated in the asthma study, offered a solution.

"They could change the fuel to make it not emit that stuff in the air. That could make it better," he said.

On Sunday, the federal government ordered new formulation guidelines for diesel fuel.

The new guidelines will take several years to take effect, but eventually 97 percent of the sulfur in diesel fuels will be removed according to federal guidelines.

Congressman Serrano said this study offers a reason to build schools farther away from highways in order to protect children.


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