Atopic illnesses are allergy-related and often affect the respiratory system.
There are three classic kinds of atopy: atopic dermatitis (eczema), hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) and allergic asthma.
It is estimated that around 23 million Europeans suffer some kind of respiratory disorder. A German study has linked increases in hay fever, eczema and asthma in Swedish, Swiss, Danish and Bavarian children have been linked to vehicle exhaust particles. In addition to these self-contained afflictions, there is less resistance to a whole range of infections, symptoms of a weakened immune system.
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The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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