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Expand chart
Adapted from Alotaibi et al., 2019, “Traffic Related Air Pollution and the Burden of Childhood Asthma in the Contiguous United States in 2000 and 2010”; Maps: Chris Canipe/Axios

Children's asthma attributable to traffic-related air pollution dropped substantially from 2000 to 2010, a new study in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International concludes.

By the numbers ... Researchers found a 33% drop over the study period: "[W]e estimated on average 209,100 and 141,900 attributable cases due to NO2 in 2000 and 2010, respectively, which accounted for 27% and 18% of all childhood asthma incident cases."

What they did: The study combined a series of datasets to produce a granular nationwide analysis, focusing on the link between vehicle nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions and asthma.

The big picture: Co-author Haneen Khreis of Texas A&M University, writing in The Conversation, looks at what's behind the decline...

"There may be multiple causes, including more fuel-efficient vehicles, more stringent regulation on nitrogen oxide emissions and, potentially, reductions in total vehicle miles traveled due to the recession."

But, but, but: Despite the progress, Khreis notes that traffic is still making lots of kids sick, and that children in urban areas had twice the NO2-linked percentage of asthma compared to rural kids.

  • She's hopeful that their mapping and analysis will help policymakers, transportation agencies, medical groups and others address the problem.

Go deeper: Wildfires cause more than breathing problems across California

Go deeper

President Joe Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden and Vice President Harris review readiness of military troops, a long-standing tradition to signify the peaceful transfer of power.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters to disrupt certification of Biden's victory. Trump did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.