Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways which makes breathing difficult.

Infants and young children living in areas of elevated diesel pollution are more likely than other kids to suffer from early childhood wheezing, a potential asthma indicator. Residences near heavy traffic levels are associated with respiratory impacts such as cough, wheeze, and persistent cough, asthma, and hospital admissions for asthma.

In addition to increasing the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms, diesel exhaust can lead to inflammation of the airways that can cause asthma.  Particulates are so small that they can slip through the lungs' natural defences and damage the body's cells, causing asthma and other respiratory illnesses in susceptible people. They cause biologic responses that are related to asthma; this exposure is associated with the inflammatory and immune responses involved in asthma.

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