CHICAGO (AP) -- Some children who appear in perfect health have measurable lung damage from exposure to air pollution, researchers found, suggesting such damage could lead to lung disease.
Past research has found that children living in polluted areas have higher rates of lung diseases such as asthma. But a new study is the first to use X-ray imaging to measure changes in children with no symptoms of lung problems, the researchers said.
Chest X-rays of 241 children in Mexico City were compared with those of 19 children living in a small coastal town. Throughout the 20-month study, smog levels in Mexico City exceeded U.S. air quality standards for more than four hours a day on average.
Researchers found 63 percent of the Mexico City children had excessive inflation of both lungs, said Dr. Lynn Ansley Fordham, an associate professor of radiology and chief of pediatric imaging at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
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