NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Infant exposure to metals from residential heating oil combustion and diesel emissions are linked to respiratory symptoms, U.S. researchers found.
Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health compared pollutant levels with respiratory symptoms of children between birth and age 2 living in Northern Manhattan and in the South Bronx.
Senior investigator Dr. Rachel L. Miller of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and co-deputy director of at the Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues found the airborne metals nickel and vanadium, were risk factors for wheezing in young children.
Residual oil combustion for heating is a major source in New York City of these metals. Elemental carbon, in diesel exhaust, was associated with increased frequency of coughing only during cold and flu season -- September through April, the researchers said.
"It appears that exposure to ambient metals and diesel-exhaust particles in our air may lead to several respiratory symptoms for young children living in urban areas," Miller said in a statement.
The findings are scheduled to be published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in December.