How Urban Vegetation Can Impact Childhood Asthma Risk: Study Reveals Surprising Findings

How Urban Vegetation Can Impact Childhood Asthma Risk

How Can Urban Vegetation Impact Childhood Asthma Risk?


Urban areas are becoming increasingly green as we realize the importance of nature and greenery in our cities. But while green spaces offer many benefits, such as reducing air pollution and providing places for children to play, they can also have a downside: increased exposure to pollen.

The Study

A recent study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that children who are exposed to tree and weed pollen in urban environments are at increased risk of respiratory health problems, including asthma.

The study looked at data from over 214,000 mother-child pairs in Ontario, Canada. They found that just over 13 percent of the children were diagnosed with childhood asthma.

The researchers then looked at the amount of green space and tree canopy cover around each child’s home. They found that children who lived in areas with more green space were more likely to be exposed to pollen. However, they also found that children who lived in areas with more tree canopy cover were less likely to develop asthma.

The Impact of Green Spaces

So, what’s going on here? Why are green spaces good for children’s respiratory health, but pollen exposure bad?

The answer lies in the fact that trees help to filter out air pollution. This can help to reduce the risk of asthma in children. However, trees also produce pollen, which can trigger asthma attacks in some people.

The Impact of Pollen Exposure

Weed pollen is a particularly potent trigger for asthma. This is because weed pollen is very small and light, which means that it can travel long distances in the air. It can also be very allergenic, which means that it can trigger an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to it.

What Can Be Done?

  • Plant trees that produce less pollen. There are many trees that produce little or no pollen, such as oak, maple, and birch. Planting these trees in urban areas can help to reduce pollen exposure.
  • Control weed growth. Weeds are a major source of pollen, so controlling their growth can help to reduce pollen exposure. This can be done by mowing lawns regularly, removing weeds from gardens, and using herbicides.
  • Keep children indoors on high pollen days. When pollen levels are high, it is best to keep children indoors as much as possible. This will help to reduce their exposure to pollen and the risk of an asthma attack.


Green spaces are an important part of urban areas, but they can also increase pollen exposure. This can be a risk factor for childhood asthma. By understanding the impact of pollen exposure, we can take steps to reduce the risk of asthma in children.

By Deepika

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