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How Pollution is Affecting the Health of Children in the UK


Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

While pollution affects everyone, children are at more risk of developing further complications due to pollution. Estimations in the world over, show that a significant percentage of people under the age of 15 take-in polluted air. By doing so, their health is significantly compromised so much so that their future development is greatly impaired. Sadly, most of them never develop into healthy adults.

One research done by WHO sought to investigate the effects of air pollution and its effect on children. The results indicated that pregnant women who’re continuously exposed to polluted air are more likely to give birth to children with respiratory disease and other abnormalities.

 Such children do not compare to healthy children when it comes to both weight and height. Shockingly, the report also stated that children born to mothers who’re exposed to pollution have higher chances of developing chronic conditions later on in their lives. Children are likely to suffer from;

  • Heart Diseases
  • Childhood cancer
  • Asthma

Which begs the question; why are children so adversely affected by pollution?

The answer lies in the fact that children take in air more rapidly as compared to adults. Secondly, adults have an advantage in that they live far away from the ground compared to children. Pollutes such as dust and pollen are heavier than the conventional air; therefore, they tend to be much closer to the ground. Children thus are much exposed compared to adults.

The following are also some critical findings highlighted by the report.

  1. Through air pollution, brain development in children is greatly hampered. The brain is a vital part of the body, and any impairment will be disastrous for the child both physically and mentally.
  2. Air pollution impairs the normal functioning of the lungs; this gives the child difficult time breathing and later on in life they may develop lung problems.
  3. While not the number one killer, air pollution takes the life of one in every ten children.

Children can never avoid pollutants;however, it is essential for parents to ascertain that their homes are contaminant free. This is possible if the parents avoid the use of non-conventional methods such as the use of smoky kerosene stoves. Parents should also take a keen look at their surroundings and protect their unborn children from pollution.

Effects of Pollution to the Lungs

Lungs are a vital organ in the body; therefore, it is important for them to always function at 100%. Research has shown that air pollution significantly targets the lungs, as it is the organ that receives air directly from the atmosphere.

lungs
Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

The effects of this are that children born in highly polluted areas will never have fully developed lungs. Therefore, when they finally become adults, their reduced lung capacity will prevent them from living a normal, full life.

Cancers will also become hard to avoid, as toxic substances in the blood will interfere with the cell processes.

Sadly, avoiding air pollution, especially when living in big cities such as London is near impossible.

Concerted efforts from the government can, however, reduce the effects of air pollution significantly. While indoors, parents must ascertain the purity of air in the house. Research shows that indoor air is equally dangerous as outdoor air, if left unchecked. Parents must avoid smoking while in the house and further do away with smoky cooking equipment while in the house.

How to Manage Air Quality

The following steps will guide you in making your home safe for children.

  • A damp house is a dangerous place to raise a child; it exposes them to pneumonia, allergies, and other respiratory complications. Ensure that all water leaks are fixed so that the dampness on the walls and floor is eliminated.
  • Although flowers are lovely when dotting our gardens, children with allergies may suffer significantly if the pollen finds its way into their lungs. Therefore, ridding the compound of all flowers (if your child has a known allergy) is necessary.
  • Rags and carpeting alike harbor dust and pet fur; vacuum clean them frequently to keep your child safe.
  • Some chemicals cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, it is not advisable to introduce new chemicals at your own home at the expense of the allergic child.
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