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Teenagers at Risk of Irregular Heartbeats in Polluted Areas

Researchers from King’s College London analysed data collected from eight studies conducted among 15,000 10- to 19-year-old children in the USA, Europe, and China. They observed and studied how microscopic pollution, specifically PM2.5 and PM10 particles, affected children and teenagers. These particles come from wood-burning stoves and fragments from vehicle tyres.

Both PM2.5 and PM10 can be inhaled directly into the lungs, which is why long-term exposure to high levels of the said pollutants often results in higher blood pressure, even for 12-year-old children. If high-level exposure continues, the children can carry this into adulthood and they can develop hypertension, which will make them vulnerable to strokes and heart attacks.

Older adolescents and 12-year-olds who live in highly polluted areas are constantly exposed to PM2.5 and PM10 and are the most susceptible to health issues such as diastolic blood pressure. Additionally, children residing in deprived areas also face higher risks because they are exposed to higher levels of toxic air. 

Although the link between air pollution and strokes and heart disease is well-documented, most of these refer only to adults. Studies that focus on children have so far been unclear and inconsistent. The King’s College study is the first to show a significant link between dirty air and blood pressure increase in teenagers. 

The study also showed that exposure to ozone pollution at higher levels saw obese and overweight children’s blood pressure levels increase almost twice compared to children with normal weights. Ozone pollution is produced by sulphur dioxide and vehicle fumes. 

To protect children and adolescents – and the public – it is essential to bring down environmental pollution levels. It is also a good idea to come up with more studies that focus on children and how being exposed to pollution can change their lives. The studies must also focus on weight, socioeconomic, and gender assessments of adolescents’ reactions to high levels of pollution.

King’s College London Professor Seeromanie Harding, who also headed the scientific review, said children are more vulnerable to air pollution than others because they are still developing and growing. It is easy for them to react negatively when exposed to high-level pollution. While reducing toxic air is the best solution, parents should also take an active role in protecting their children. They should encourage their adolescents to choose roads or areas with lower pollution and lesser traffic.

PM2.5 and PM10 have adverse effects on human health. Once they get into your lungs, they can travel all the way to your bloodstream and damage your blood vessels’ lining. This will cause your blood pressure to rise as your heart pumps harder and faster to make sure that blood gets through your vessels.

Diesel emissions scandal

The Dieselgate scandal may not exclusively target children or teenagers, but its effect is felt by anyone regardless of age. It was in September 2015 when the Volkswagen Group received a notice of violation from US authorities for violating emissions regulations by using defeat devices in Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles sold in the American market.

A defeat device senses when a vehicle is in the lab and being tested. Once the test starts, it immediately brings down emission levels to within the regulated limits of the World Health Organization (WHO). Carmakers do this so the vehicles appear eco-friendly and can pass emissions testing. 

However, once the vehicle is driven outside controlled conditions, it starts to emit elevated levels of nitrogen oxide once again. This type of substance is a group of gases that contains nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). NOx has dangerous effects on the environment and your health. Thus, the vehicle violates emissions regulations and is a pollutant.

Volkswagen knew there were defeat devices in their vehicles but still marketed and sold their products as fuel-efficient and environment-friendly. They deceived their customers. 

Other carmakers that followed Volkswagen’s path include Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Vauxhall, and Renault, among others. They are all responsible for lying to their customers and exposing people – children and adolescents included – to life-threatening levels of nitrogen oxide emissions.   

NOx Emissions

NOx emissions harm vegetation – plants and crops that are exposed become weaker. They also make the air more polluted as they produce acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone.

If you are regularly exposed to NOx emissions, your cognitive health can decline, increasing your risk of dementia. NOx also affects your mental health, so you should expect more frequent episodes of anxiety and depression if you constantly walk or pass by highly polluted areas.

Your health can suffer if you are constantly exposed to NOx emissions. Some of the health impacts you may experience include:

  • Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
  • Asthma (more frequent attacks)
  • Asphyxiation and laryngospasm 
  • Chronic lung function reduction
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

All these impacts are the reasons why you should not hesitate to bring forward a diesel claim against your carmaker. You should be compensated for all the inconveniences they subjected you to. 

What should I do with my diesel claim?

Before anything else, you have to verify if you are qualified to make an emissions claim. Only certain models of vehicles are affected by the scandal. You’ll get all the data you need about this when you visit Only then can you move forward with your diesel compensation case.

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