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Netherlands has worst child asthma in Europe from pollution

The highest concentration of asthmatic children caused by traffic pollution in Europe is in The Netherlands, according to medical researchers.

Medical journal The Lancet says that one in five Dutch children suffer from pollution-induced asthma, rising to over half in the bigger cities, reports

Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children in The Netherlands, affecting around 100,000 children aged from 0-14. The main cause is nitrogen oxide from diesel cars and lorries, according to the study reported by, referring to a story in national newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

Air quality watchdog

This also follows data published by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RiVM), the Dutch air quality watchdog, which showed that the urban belt known as the Randstad is the most polluted in The Netherlands.

It is reported that there is due to be a parliamentary debate this week on the government’s clean air accord, while a group of lung specialists including cardiologist, paedatricians and scientists will hand over a petition to members of parliament calling for ‘more ambitious measures’ to limit pollution. These include tackling big polluters, building more public buildings away from motorways and lowering speed limits.

‘A hidden killer’

Hans in ‘t Veld, a lung specialist, is quoted as saying: “‘Nitrogen oxide is a hidden killer. You don’t see it, you don’t notice it but it causes inflammation of lungs. Asthma often begins when children are young. Every day I see children who are unable to play outside when the weather is fine and children whose lungs are so sensitive they don’t know how to cope with [smog from fireworks on] New Year’s Eve.”

Author: Simon Weedy

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