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Reduced Blood Lead Levels, Increasing Cases of Asthma in Children: Survey

Update Date: Jan 27, 2013 05:36 AM EST

According to recent figures disclosed by the government's Environment Protection Agency (EPA), there is an unprecedented reduction in the levels of lead in blood; however, there is also a marked increase in asthma cases among children.

"The latest report provides important information for protecting America's most vulnerable - our children. It shows good progress on some issues, such as reducing children's blood lead levels and exposure to tobacco smoke in the home, and points to the need for continued focus on other issues. Although we are encouraged by these findings, there is still much work to be done. By monitoring trends, identifying successes, and shedding light on areas that need further evaluation, we can continue to improve the health of our children and all Americans," said Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of EPA, in a news release.

In 2009-2010, the average lead content was an astonishing 92 percent lower than those taken in the 1976-1980  study. The reduction had started since 1980 and has continued to reduce steadily since 1999.

The average content of cotinine (an indication of passive smoking) in the blood of non-smoking children between the age of three and 17 was again a huge 88 percent lower in the recent study, as compared to the last data collected during 1988-1991. Six percent of those children came from regular smoker's houses in 2009-2010, as compared to 27 percent in 1994.

The report also found a decline from 75 percent to 59 percent in the number of children living in counties where the air pollution was high.

On the other hand, the percentage of children suffering from asthma increased from 8.7 percent in 2001 to 9.4 percent in 2010, with the disease being commonly prevalent among the minority groups. The causes of asthma have not yet been identified, however certain pollutants in the air accelerate the symptoms of asthma patients. Meanwhile, the number of asthma cases in children has increased the severity of children's asthma, and the respiratory symptoms have reduced.

The report also provides data on other diseases which have increased in number, like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and preterm births, although there hasn't been any proof of them being linked to environmental pollutants.

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