The Asthma and Air Pollution Link- How Biofuels Can Help
A new study found that pregnant women who are exposed to high levels of air pollution are more likely to have children who develop asthma. The study published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that 18% of the children born to mothers who were exposed to high levels of ultra-fine particulates were diagnosed with asthma in preschool. This is compared to the 7% of children overall in the United States diagnosed.
Ultra-fine particulates are so small, they can directly enter the lungs. A majority of them come from toxic additives in gasoline called aromatics. They don’t fully combust leaving the tailpipe and linger in the air for a longer period of time.
Biofuels like ethanol can help reduce these ultra-fine particulates by replacing aromatics in gasoline. Research by the University of California Riverside found that this change in the fuel due to ethanol can reduce toxic emissions up to 50%.
As someone who has suffered from respiratory challenges himself, we hope new EPA Administrator Michael Regan will help us continue to make this linkage between fuel quality and public health.
In a recent Guardian article, Regan talked about his health issues. “During days of high ozone and high pollution I did suffer respiratory challenges,” he said. “I’ve been keenly aware of the impact of pollution from an early age and what that means, from lost school days or from preventing me enjoying the outdoors with my grandfather and father. That’s always been part of my knowledge base.”