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Asthma tests identify traffic, dust as triggers

Category: Allergy Testing

Infants and small children who are exposed to traffic pollution and dust have a higher risk of asthma, according to clinical allergy testing.

A study published in the December 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine identified persistent wheezing in 36 percent of 3-year-olds who were exposed to high levels of traffic pollution and indoor endotoxin as infants, HealthDay news reports.

Endotoxin, a component of bacteria commonly found in dust, has been linked to adverse immune responses in humans.

The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine researchers behind the study furthermore recognized wheezing - an early warning sign of asthma - in only 11 percent of young children exposed to low levels of the same outdoor and indoor allergens.

"There is a clear synergistic effect from co-exposure to traffic-related particles and endotoxin above and beyond what you would see with a single exposure that can be connected to persistent wheezing by age 3," said the study's lead author Patrick Ryan, a research assistant professor of environmental health.

The American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology reports that about 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma and 250,000 die from it each year.

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