Exposure to outdoor air pollution during the first year of life increases the risk of developing allergies to food, mould, pets and pests, says a study. The sensitivity to allergens is associated with exposure to traffic-related air pollution during infancy, the findings showed.
'This is the first study to find a link between air pollution and measured allergic sensitization during the first year,' said study senior author Michael Brauer, professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.
The study also found that children who live with furry pets and no attached garage were more likely to have no sensitivity to allergens.
'Understanding which environmental exposures in early life affect the development of allergies can help tailor preventative measures for children,' first author of the study Hind Sbihi, doctoral candidate at the UBC noted.
'We also found that children who attended daycare or those with older siblings in the household were less likely to develop allergic sensitization, suggesting that exposure to other children can be protective,' Sbihi noted.
The researchers used data from 2,477 children and assessed the children with skin allergy testing at approximately one year of age. They were tested for sensitivity to ten allergens, including cat, dog, dust mites, cockroach, fungus, milk, egg, soy and peanut. The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.