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New emissions study to focus on children

TOKYO, May 3 (UPI) -- Japan's Environment Ministry will conduct a five-year survey on the impact of vehicle emissions on human health, especially of primary school pupils.

The epidemiological study will be conducted on 16,000 children at 60 schools, mainly in major cities, where the volume of traffic exceeds 40,000 vehicles a day, Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday.

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Laboratory tests have confirmed that diesel exhaust particles can cause asthma, with very few investigations into the actual impact on human health of gasoline emissions.

The ministry will select schools at various distances from main roads, tracing health records such as the incidence of asthma in children from the first to third grades over a five-year period.

Environmental assessments will also be conducted, measuring suspended particulate matter emissions and nitrogen oxide emissions on main roads and school routes.

The data will enable scientists to estimate the level of pollution to which children are exposed and to examine correlations between air pollution and damage to health.

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