Emerging evidence suggests that roadway air pollution causes childhood asthma. The costs of this can be quite high. A study was done in Los Angeles county looking at the regional exposure to Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide and the cost burden associated with it.
Approximately 36 million people in the United States live within 300 feet of a 4 lane highway, railroad or airport. Air pollution could asthma asthma. In Southern California air pollution might account for asthma related exacerbations. The costs of this can be quite high related to direct cost of health care and indirect costs such as lost wages.
Los Angeles County has a high prevalence of childhood asthma because of dense corridors and high levels of regional air pollutants. These levels are expected to decrease because of regulatory efforts.
In 2007 the cost of air pollution attributable to childhood asthma is large, between $203 million for Nitrogen Dioxide and $441 million for Ozone in Los Angeles County. Public efforts such as using electric vehicles or creating buffers between major roadways and homes and schools are effective in eliminating cases of asthma attributable to traffic proximity exposure.
In Los Angeles, 32% of children are covered by public insurance, a major expenditure of this cost is attributable to air pollution causing asthma. The cost of all asthma exacerbations that could be attributable to pollution has been estimated to be 51% by some studies and a majority of that is from Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide.
The cost for each child with asthma has been estimated to be almost $3000 per year. If the air pollution was controlled the annual savings can used to help fund other health care costs.
In conclusion, air pollution can effect asthma exacerbations. In Los Angeles county measures to help reduce the air pollution burden can help decrease asthma problems in children. This study looked at Los Angeles county only, but are relevant to other large metropolitan areas.