There is an increasing body of evidence supporting the link between asthma attacks and air pollution in children. To our knowledge, there has only been one reported case of a fatal asthma attack in a child associated with air pollution and this was in the UK. This article considers why there is a lack of evidence on fatal/near-fatal asthma and air pollution. We also explore three challenges. First, fatal and near-fatal asthma events are rare and not yet well understood. Second, measuring and interpreting personal exposure to air pollution with sufficient temporal and spatial detail are challenging to interpret in the context of individual fatal or near-fatal asthma attacks. Third, current studies are not designed to answer the question of whether or to what extent air pollution is associated with fatal/near-fatal asthma attacks in children. Conclusive evidence is not yet available and systems of data collection for both air pollution and fatal and near-fatal asthma attacks should be enhanced to ensure risk can be determined and impact minimised.
- Respiratory Medicine
- Child Health
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Contributors All authors contributed to the research, analysis of the results and to the writing of the manuscript. All authors reviewed and revised interim drafts of the article and approved the final version. Coauthors—AM, TC, HP, JG and SC.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.