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1.1      Background of the study

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway which has a large impact on quality of life and poses a great burden on health services. In children, asthma is the most commonly reported chronic disease in developed countries.  Environmental factors, importantly including improved hygiene, ambient air pollution exposures, and early-life exposures to microbes and aeroallergens, contribute to the development of asthma. In a recent systematic review and meta-analyses, we found statistically significant associations between traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) and the incidence and lifetime prevalence of childhood asthma, although there was significant heterogeneity in some of the risk estimates. These effects are biologically plausible. Britain’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants proposed four mechanisms by which air pollution can affect asthma; oxidative stress and damage; inflamed pathways; airway remodeling; and enhancement of respiratory sensitization to allergens. Oxidative stress relates to common asthmatic traits, and was suggested to play a role in asthma pathogenesis. Further, it was previously highlighted as one chief pathway which underpins the adverse health effects of (traffic-related) air pollution on the respiratory systems. TRAP is a particularly important and challenging exposure to study given its ubiquity, its dominance in present urban areas, its proximity to human receptors, and its high spatial and temporal variability. Concerns about children’s health and the factors that affect it are important determinants of health policies. In particular, policies that aim to prevent the adverse effects of environmental factors on health consider children as the population group that deserves the highest level of protection. High-level international policy documents, such as the declarations of the Ministerial Conferences on Environment and Health convened in London in 1999 and Budapest in 2004, highlight this concern. The Budapest Conference also adopted the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe, which formulates actions aiming to prevent and reduce the burden of environment-related diseases in children in the WHO European Member States. Reduction of the adverse effects of air pollution on children’s health, and in particular on the occurrence of respiratory disease, is one of the four regional priority goals of the Action Plan. The most effective policy actions are those based on well-established evidence of the links between children’s health and environmental exposures, ensuring that the prevention of exposure leads to improved health. As a result of studies conducted around the world in recent decades, knowledge and understanding of the risks of air pollution to children is growing. Nevertheless, the available studies are not always consistent in terms of the health outcomes and exposures assessed, and employ a wide range of analyses and reporting methods. Recent studies have tended to be more sophisticated and to consider in more detail the complexity of children’s exposure to environmental factors, changes in the physiology of the developing organism, and morbidity characteristic for the age of the child. The synthesis of accumulated evidence thus requires it to be thoroughly and systematically analyzed, looking for logical links between studies that point to causal associations between exposures and health effects. Such synthesis furnishes the most solid policy basis and allows one to focus on the relevant exposures and to effectively reduce the burden of disease due to these exposures. The Air quality guidelines for Europe, first published by WHO in 1987 and updated at the end of the 1990s, provide a comprehensive assessment of the hazards of air pollution to all population groups, including children. Several new studies carried out over the last few years, however, potentially provide new insight into the evidence, employ new study methods, and address exposure to pollution mixes and levels now characteristic of European cities. To identify the relationships between children’s health and development and air quality for which there is conclusive combined toxicological and epidemiological evidence, the WHO Regional Office for Europe (European Centre for Environment and Health, Bonn Office) began work on this monograph in mid-2003. An important objective was to support the development of European policies, in particular the Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) programme of the European Commission


In modern times and societies, there is a complex relationship between the environment, broadly defined, and human health. Poor air quality has been linked to respiratory health effects, especially among sensitive groups such as young children, elderly, and those with respiratory problems. The lack of a framework for the review, assessment and management of air pollution in the city implies that residents are exposed to significant ambient air pollution and therefore subject to attendant public health risks. It is on this note that the researcher intends to investigate the effect of early life exposure to air pollution on the development of childhood asthma.


The main objective of the study is to ascertain the effect of early life exposure to air pollution on the development of childhood asthma; But for the purpose of the study; the researcher intend to achieve the following sub objectives;

i)             To ascertain the effect of early life exposure to air pollution on the health of the children

ii)           To ascertain the impact of air pollution on the health and general wellbeing of the children

iii)          To investigate the role of environmental management agency in the control of air pollution

iv)         To ascertain the relationship between air pollution and child asthma rate.


For the purpose of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated

H0: Early life exposure to air pollution does not have any effect on the health of the children

H1: Early life exposure to air pollution has a significant effect on the health of the children

H02: Early life exposure to air pollution does not have any relationship with the development of childhood asthma

H2: Early life exposure to air pollution have a significant relationship with the development of childhood asthma.

1.1      Significance of the study

It is believed that at the completion of the study; the findings and the study will be of importance to the federal ministry of environments as the findings will aid them in policy formulation and implementation on the control of air pollution. The study will also be of great importance to the national environmental management agency; who are charged with the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring the implementation of the policy formulated by the federal ministry of environment and punishing defaulters of the rules so as to keep the environment safe and reduced global warming, the study will also be of importance to researcher who wish to embark on a research in similar topic, as the study will serve as guide for further study. Finally the study will be of importance to the teachers, students, lecturer and the general public

1.2      Scope and limitation of the study

The scope of the study covers air pollution a continuing health threat in the world with emphasis on Nigeria. But in the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study; some of these limitation are stated below

(a) Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.      

(b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

(c) Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover



Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change.  Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution.

Air pollution

Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. Car emissions, chemicals from factories, dust, pollen and mold spores may be suspended as particles. Ozone, a gas, is a major part of air pollution in cities. When ozone forms air pollution, it's also called smog. Some air pollutants are poisonous.


Health is the level of functional and metabolic efficiency of a living organism. In humans it is the ability of individuals or communities to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental or social changes. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as lacking operational value, the ambiguity in developing cohesive health strategies, and because of the problem created by use of the word "complete


The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gases, commonly known as air, that surrounds the planet Earth and is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night (the diurnal temperature variation)


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

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