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Air Pollution Correlated with Impaired Immune Function

It's not new that pollution is associated with asthma and allergies, but some research specifically focuses on a type of component released as a result of the incomplete burning of fuel in diesel engines, furnaces, wood fires, wildfires and even barbeque grills. Children exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, reportedly have impaired T-regulatory cells, and excess amounts of immunoglobulin E, or IgE, antibodies. T-regs normally reduce immune-induced imflammation, while excess IgE antibodies increase inflammation.  A study of 153 children in Fresno, California correlated the high PAH levels in the air to high asthma and allergy rates. PAH pollutants may have different effects on the human body than ozone or particulate matter. One of the researchers, Kari Nadeau reported irreversible changes to the Foxp3 gene, which is responsible for the regulation of T-regulatory cells. The changed gene expression may be passed on through reproduction and affect future generations as well. Thus, cleaner energy sources are paramount to the health of this generation and the many more to come.

Seppa, Nathan. "Pollution's links to asthma, allergy." Science News. 23 March 2013: 19. Print.