covid 19: First-ever link found between asthma in toddlers and prenatal exposure to air pollution


Clean air solutions are not just a matter of climate change, but a matter of public health as well. The article talks about a new study that shows how pregnant mothers who were exposed to air pollution had babies who, when toddlers, had a significant increase in diagnoses of asthma. A previous study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also looked at the association of children’s direct exposure to air pollution particles and episodes of asthma. It states that “a study of young campers with moderate to severe asthma showed they were 40 percent more likely to have acute asthma episodes on high pollution summer days than on days with average pollution levels.” Increases in air pollution are going to lead to serious implications down the road regarding health complications and it’s an issue that should be at the forefront.

I have an almost identical story! We were pregnant with our first living in an old apartment that I suspect had a mold problem (never knew for sure). He was sick monthly, and had croup 6 or 7 times. He had a severe reaction to mold when allergy tested as a toddler. It’s been 3 years since we left that apartment (he’s almost 5, and we stayed in the apartment until he was almost 2), and he’s been sick like twice since. I felt awful, I thought he was just prone to respiratory illnesses for so long.

Pretty much every city has this problem. However, certain cities will have even higher air pollution problems due to being in valleys, being surrounded by polluting factories, less government regulation, etc. Electric vehicles cannot come fast enough. Of course that doesn’t solve industrial air pollution.

If you use the AirVisual app by IQ Air (same as one of OP’s links), it will tell you whether it’s safe to go out bare-faced and even what level of face mask to wear if you must go out and it’s not safe w/o. I’ve used it for several years, and it is very helpful. We get wildfires and tons of smoke even w/o fires near. It color codes the different levels (Safe thru Hazardous) and the icon changes to show the color, AQI value, and even wears the type of mask!

California Central Valley here (#10 on your list) – I will have to disagree with you on “every city having that problem.” Between the dust from harvest, the smog that can’t make it past the Sierras, and the ever increasing wildfire smoke, we’re definitely a bit more wrecked than your average US city. Talk to a respiratory therapist. Maybe you could post an Ask Reddit and summon some of them. They are a wealth of information and extremely knowledgeable in our ped’s department. They may have some answers to the questions that are keeping you up at night.

I was born with asthma because my dad loved smoking cloves around my mom, i remember FORCEFULLY staying home from school because I genuinely couldn’t stand longboarding to middleschool and breathing in all the car fumes all morning, sometimes when I would i’d literally have to stop halfway to school and come back home and get on a nebulizer. Suburbs are slowly murdering us all. One of my close friends lives right next to one of the most polluted streets in my city, and has been doing so since before they were born. Surprise, surprise! They have asthma.

FYI air pollution for most people is also cigarette smoke, not just the typical pollution you’d imagine. I remember in our course’s college textbook it had mentioned industrial pollution, although bad for global warming and people in general, didn’t affect us directly (for the most part) because industries usually have factories in more rural/open areas with downwind kept in mind for towns. Something like 80% of pollution for most people directly is cigarette smoke (with the remaining being mix of stuff including exhaust fumes).

Honestly I wish we would focus on reducing pollution rather than climate change. There is no denying how bad pollution is for us and the earth. While climate change is also important, it’s harder for people to grasp but if you ask people if they want more or less pollution I think 99% would say they want less.

I recently found out that electric-assist bicycles are a thing that exist! My husband got one to try out, and then got a second one for our older son to commute to work on when the weather cooperates.

Our household gave up the car years ago and never replaced it because we were fine-ish with walking or the city buses. But I’m really glad my husband finally found “vehicles” for the family that fit in our living room and plug into the wall to recharge. Take a look at Dr. Shanna Swan’s research. She’s been looking into this for quite a while, iirc funded by the NIH. Decreasing sperm counts and testosterone can be directly attributed to certain chemicals leaching from plastic into food and beverage. It is especially damaging and irreversible when exposed while in the womb.

PBS had a good piece on this which you can see or read below. Fyi, it’s also effecting women’s fertility rates negatively.

“So first of all, which chemicals? I focused on a class of chemicals called phthalates. And these are chemicals, a pretty big class, that make plastics soft and flexible, also present in cosmetics and personal care products, room fresheners, and anything fragranced.

These chemicals have the ability to lower testosterone. And I did a series of studies to look for it in humans. Other chemicals involved that are important is Bisphenol A, the bisphenols, which are estrogenic and also interfere with reproduction and your development and lots of things in our bodies.”

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most utilized plastic compounds used. It has many (over 45 from what I’ve seen) well established epidemiological studies linking BPA exposure to endocrine disruption. Endocrine system includes the biological chemicals involved in development and reproduction. Ton of detrimental affects linked to BPA, just got taken out of baby bottles in USA but the “safe limit” deemed by the USA is still 12.5x higher than in Europe. It’s been detected in more that 91% of random urine samples of people. It’s widespread and unhealthy. It’s in cans, water bottles, food packaging, and tons of other products. Not a good situation

We use to live in north San Diego county near the beach but also close to the 5 Fwy. My daughter developed asthma at an early age and was sick many times a year. After we moved to the PNW, she has had zero asthma issues and sick only once in 4 years. Every time we go down to visit, the pollution gets to us really quickly. You don’t notice it as much when you live in that environment all the time.

Also cleaning products.. I’m not sure no scientific stuff I know for sure but my parents love cleaning and good smelling stuff.. they would mix anything that was not bleach and amanio and consider it safe . That old 90s cheap spray 2 cans a day..crunch mothballs up and vacuum them suckers up.. still not smelling the greatness soak the furniture, carpet with some spray.. they could do all this and my grandma would come over and swear the house stunk and bam she would whip her own spray out.. I suffer from asthma and allergies like crazy I think it’s from all the exposure from cleaning products..

I always knew there was a link between those two. All those days sitting in the car with the windows down, breathing in car fumes was most likely a contributing factor to my asthma. Now the windows are always up, with circulated air inside. Windows are only down if we leave the city and go to the beach side.

Only loosely related, but I honestly don’t get city people. Y’all are just built different. We’re talking higher cost of living, more traffic, and more pollution. People are literally choosing to breath unhealthy air (which I personally quite like air and wouldn’t want to sacrifice it), for a job that they could probably do just as effectively remotely from anywhere in the country.

I had pretty bad asthma when i was young, back when i was 11ish till i was around 18ish, but suddenly it stopped god knows why, i still get the allergies specially during the summer, i still have some smells like peppermint, lavender, eucalypt or just normal car pollution that triggers it a bit, or if i get a pretty bad cold.

I also started to smoke around my 19s, so theres that, i usually have like around 5 a day, if that and im surprised it hasnt trigger it, im hoping to quit soon though.

Till today i dont understand why i did had it all of the sudden when i was a young teen and “stopped” once i was not one, and i didnt changed places, tho, i think one of the reasons was because i was too much inside, i was a child who grew up outside and once we moved, i wouldnt go out anymore, but once i had 18ish, i started to go out a lot more.



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