Environment Picture

Pollution-induced asthma: Tiny daggers in the lungs

Particulate matter pollution - more commonly known as smog - from industrial sources, including oil refineries, can trigger heart attacks, respiratory illness and asthma attacks in children. Those childhood asthma attacks - prompted by microscopic particles that bury themselves like tiny daggers into lung tissue - are as heartbreaking as they are dangerous.

In Detroit, studies have shown 20% of children have asthma. Nationally, the rate is about 7%. The city’s industrial operations and traffic-choked roads and bridges are primary contributors to this alarmingly high rate.

Nationwide, the number of people with asthma has grown from 6.7 million in 1980 to 17.3 million in 1998.

Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system, which causes swelling and narrowing of the airways. It is a leading cause of hospital stays and school absences.

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