Air pollution was not on their radar, but the thirty medical professionals who attended a Pediatric Grand Rounds presentation by Medical Advocates for Healthy Air at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro learned that it may be affecting their patients more than they realized. In fact, air pollution exposure has more potential to harm children than adults because children’s lungs are still developing, they breathe at a faster rate, and they have higher rates of asthma.
In addition to respiratory effects, the participants learned about new research that suggests associations between air pollution exposure and cognitive problems, diabetes and obesity. Unfortunately, we unwittingly expose children to air pollution in some school buses in which the indoor air quality is worse than the outdoor air quality, and send them to sports practice in late afternoons, when ground-level ozone pollution levels are at their highest.
The Grand Rounds participants learned that the solutions lie not in banning school buses and after-school sports, but rather in joining MAHA to advocate for “clean air” policies like mass transit and idling restrictions, and taking advantage of North Carolina’s abundant solar and wind resources, to protect the air that all of us breathe.