Spring isn’t the only season being marked right now.
Allergy season is in full effect and a new study is comparing air pollution and children who are more likely to develop allergies.
In fact, the UBC study determined that Vancouver had the largest proportion of children developing sensitivities to allergens.
Researchers surveyed more than 2,700 children in four major cities across Canada: Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.
“With the increasing rates of allergies amongst children in Canada and elsewhere, we were interested in determining if air pollution from traffic might be partially responsible,” said Michael Brauer, the study’s senior author. “This is the first study to find a link between air pollution and measured allergic sensitization during the first year.”
Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study tested children who were approximately one year of age for sensitivity to ten allergens like cat, dog, dust mites, cockroach, fungus, milk, egg, soy, and peanut. Of the participants, 16 per cent of infants were sensitive to at least one of the tested allergens, 12.5 per cent were sensitive to a food allergen, and 5.3 per cent were sensitive to an inhalant allergen.
Infants exposed to air pollution were at greater risk, but researchers did not find a link between mothers exposed to air pollution during pregnancy and allergy risk in their children. When looking at the four major cities, 23.5 per cent of children in Vancouver were more likely to develop sensitivity to an allergen. That’s compared to 17 per cent in both Toronto and Edmonton and nine per cent in Winnipeg.
It also determined that those who lived with furry pets and had no attached garage were more likely to not develop an allergen.
“Understanding which environmental exposures in early life affect the development of allergies can help tailor preventative measures for children,” said Hind Sbihi, a PhD candidate at UBC and first author of the study. “We also found that children who attended daycare or with older siblings in the household were less likely to develop allergic sensitization, suggesting that exposure to other children can be protective.”
You can read the complete study here.