“children more vulnerable to fine dust”

“children more vulnerable to fine dust”

2023-05-31 19:19:00

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of airborne toxins for a few very simple reasonsbut that is important to remember. Babies breathe at a much higher rate than ours, twice as much as an adult. A 6-month-old baby breathes 24 times in one minute, compared to 12 for an adult. This means that, despite their small size, they are able to inhale a large amount of toxic substances”such as fine dust. As David Korn, medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Department and head of Digital Health projects at the A. Gemelli Irccs University Hospital in Rome, on the sidelines of the event ‘Free to breathe’, organized by Consulcesi Group yesterday in the capital, spoke on the reasons that lead children, despite not having contributed to air pollution, to suffer the most serious damages.

Height also contributes to feeding children’s vulnerability to toxic substances in the air. The little ones “breathe much closer to the floor – recalls Korn – This means that they are directly in contact with car exhausts, for example”. Furthermore, adds the specialist, they have an “extremely high growth capacity – a baby from 0 to 6 months doubles its weight, going from about 3 kg to 6 – therefore cell regeneration is extremely rapid, which makes them extremely vulnerable” to the dust “present in the air, which is capable of irreparably damaging cell replication”.

These damages, warns Korn, already occur during pregnancy, with “the increase in preterm births” and “in the number of low birth weight babies, and also in those abortions that we once defined as partly spontaneous”.

“Substances such as benzene, flammable and with a particularly sweet smell, present in the air we breathe, have the ability to interact with DNA in a completely irreversible way – explains Korn again – causing an increase in leukemia, especially myeloid in children under 6 years”.

“The so-called fine particles, which have dimensions of less than 2.5 microns, slightly larger than viruses – specifies the expert – manage to travel in our respiratory tree creating inflammatory conditions that normally manifest themselves in the increase in episodes of bronchospasm , asthma or asthmatic bronchitis”.

“We don’t just talk about problems,” though. “We look for even simple solutions, such as those adopted in daily life”, suggests Korn: “Consult Internet site Apps available to everyone and which illustrate in real time the level of pollution present within our geographical area, to find out whether it is better to stay at home or if you can go outdoors”. But also “to purify the air in the environment in which we live by buying plants, such as pothos, sanseverine or ivy, capable of absorbing a large part of these highly carcinogenic substances”.

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