Researchers in the US have found that taking steps to reduce pollution on school buses can improve the lung health of children.
The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, focused on the health of 275 young children during the periods before and after their school buses used less-polluting forms of fuel and transport.
The researchers measured air pollution levels on a total of 597 journeys on 188 buses between 2005 and 2009. They also gave the children monthly lung function tests and looked into their school attendance records.
The scientists found that, when the buses changed to ultra-low sulphur diesel lung inflammation was reduced by 16% among the whole group of children, and by 20–31% among the children with asthma, depending on how severe their condition was.
They also noted that, following the switch to less polluting modes of transport, children were 6–8% less likely to be absent from school.
While the study looked solely at school children, the researchers believe that the positive effects of this switch to less-polluting fuels and transport could reach further, impacting commuters, people who drive for work and those who live close to major roads.
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