Children getting their breathing tested for asthma. PHOTO: Long Beach Public Library
Children getting their breathing tested for asthma. PHOTO: Long Beach Public Library

Asthma is a lung disease that causes breathing difficulty. Scientists have proven that pollution is a major cause of asthma. Pollution can be any substance harmful to the environment, like a chemical or gas. Pollution from cars, power plants and factories can cause asthma attacks, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The NRDC is an organization that uses scientific research to help governments create laws that protect the environment.

About 20 million people in the United States have had an asthma attack at least once in their lives. However, the people at the biggest risk for developing asthma are children, according to pediatrician and asthma researcher David Peden. Kids are more likely to get asthma because they are exposed to a lot of outside air pollution, like from fuel exhaust (from the gas that cars and trucks use). They are more vulnerable because they are still growing and because they go outside more than adults to play. Also, among children, boys tend to have asthma more than girls.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the part of the US government that is responsible for doing research on health, says that more Black and Latino children have asthma because many of them live in cities and in poorer areas that are closer to pollution from highways and factories and further away from parks and green open spaces.

Asthma attacks can lead to death. According to the CDC, they kill 5,000 people every year in the United States. If more and more people get asthma, then more people will die of asthma attacks. More of those people will be children.