Outdoor big city air, and indoor air in Winter, contain black carbon that causes inflammation, especially when kids exercise. Any large city is likely to present similar pollution. The indoor black carbon is most likely from coal, oil, or gas heat or wood stoves and fireplaces.
Children who exercise in New York City face greater exposure to toxic black carbon than their less active peers — diminishing the benefits of physical activity, according to a new Columbia University study.
Physical activity has ... been found to reduce airway inflammation, which makes breathing difficult and is associated with asthma.
But according to the study published Wednesday, black carbon exposure may be offsetting the benefits exercise has on children’s respiratory systems.
“Physical activity could be good for the lungs and may reduce inflammation in the lungs. However, children that have very high pollution exposure might not see that benefit,”...
Black carbon is a greenhouse gas, and a form of particulate matter pollution formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Like all particulate matter pollution, black carbon is associated with a broad range of human health effects, including respiratory and cardiovascular harms, as well as premature death.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups, children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution — and climate change. Not only are they still developing, children are also poised to be exposed longer to the cumulative damage that the deteriorating environment brings.
In New York, researchers found that active children were exposed to 25 percent greater concentrations of black carbon compared to non-active children. Active children were considered to be those that do at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity daily, at least three days a week, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, researchers observed a stronger connection between exercise and and black carbon exposure during winter months, a time when children don’t spend as much time outside. Particulate matter concentrations are reportedly higher indoors than outdoors, especially during the cold weather months, according to the report. Such finding suggests that exposure to black carbon is happening inside the home, too. [emphasis mine]
A HEPA filter can reduce indoor air pollution, to protect your family. Changing the filters in your heating system every 3 months and using those designed for asthma protection (MERV 12) is helpful. I change my HEPA prefilters and my heater filter every 2 1/2 months.