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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

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20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.