A study, published in the March, 2001 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, came to the conclusion that reducing indoor pollutants and allergens in the home can reduce the incidence of asthma in children under the age of six by nearly 40%. This means that over 500,000 children under the age of six would not have asthma if indoor pollution was brought under control.
Over 8,000 children, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, a survey of the health and nutritional status of children and adults, were studied. Just under 6% of the participants under the age of six had asthma, diagnosed by a physician.
It was determined that a child with a history of allergies to pets was 24 times more likely to suffer from asthma than a child without the pet allergy. This can account for 350,000 cases of asthma in children under the age of six. It was determined that exposure to tobacco smoke was responsible for an additional 177,000 cases, and that gas stoves can account for another 59,000 cases.
More than four million children in the United States suffer from asthma. It is the most common chronic childhood ailment. Between 1980 and 1993, the incidence of asthma increased by 75%. Most of the increase was seen in children under the age of five. Asthma is responsible for three million doctor visits and over 500,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Asthma is also responsible for 150,000 hospitalizations. Each year 150 children under the age of 15 die because of asthma. We may be able to reduce these numbers by taking control of the home environment.