Better air quality means better lung function.

Ambient air pollution has many detrimental health effects, causing about seven million premature deaths annually worldwide. Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of ambient air pollution because their respiratory systems are immature.
The air quality in Zabrze, a city located in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region of Poland, is among the worst in Europe. In cooperation with Polish scientists and pollution researchers, we have compared lung function and the frequency of respiratory or allergic symptoms between children living in Zabrze and those living in Gdynia.
We enrolled children aged 9–15 years from both towns who could perform spirometry by AioCare system.
In total, we have examined 258 children from Gdynia and 512 children from Zabrze.
This study showed that preadolescent children living in Zabrze, in which the air quality is among the worst in Europe, had significantly impaired lung function, as indicated by their lower FVC, FEV1, and PEF compared to their peers from Gdynia on the Baltic coast. Moreover, children in Zabrze suffered from seasonal rhinorrhea or coughing episodes more often than children in Gdynia.
This study also indicates that the mixed, chronic air pollution in Silesia may be associated with impaired development in preadolescent children.
We hope that our findings will motivate efforts to improve air quality in Silesia because better air quality means better lung function.

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