Study Pinpoints Pollutants That Cause Asthma

Friday, November 27, 2009

Medical researchers have long known there’s a connection between pollution and asthma. But a new study is among the first to pinpoint some of the exact elements that apparently cause breathing problems.

Dr. Rachel Miller, from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, says research has focused generically on what’s called “fine particulate matter” in pollution. She says identifying the specific asthma-causing elements will help advocates focus on specific kinds of pollution for reduction.

MILLER: Looking at fine particulate matter, which is what we currently do and what the EPA currently does, may not pick up the component levels that really are of concern. We should be thinking about more targeted solutions.

REPORTER: Miller’s research found a high association between asthma and the metal nickel. She says this is surprising, because the nickel appears to come from a very widespread source: heating boilers. Miller says it’s not yet clear why some boilers might emit more nickel than others, but it gives investigators a new source to investigate more closely.


More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by