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Smog’s impact on children

It’s obvious that dirty air is bad to breathe, but how much of a negative impact does it really have on our kids? Read a bit of what researchers are finding out.

Long-term Study of Children’s Health Continues

An initial observation of a long-term health study of Southland children has found that high pollution levels and length of exposure does correlate with reduced lung function in older children. Now seven years into the study, the University of Southern California research team has gathered health data on 3,600 volunteers from a dozen Southern California communities where the pollutants being studied have been measured at high levels.

They also have found:

  • Increased rates of acute respiratory illness (including bronchitis) as well as longer absences have been observed following days of high pollution; and
  • PM10 is shown to be associated with higher bronchitis rates.

Besides PM10 and ozone, the study is looking for the effect that nitrogen dioxide, PM2.5 and ambient acids have on children. This is the most extensive study on how air pollution affects children’s health. It is expected to be completed in 2002.
Past studies — though less extensive — revealed that California children are more likely to suffer from asthma than children in other parts of the nation. AQMD, the California Air Resources Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other local air pollution control districts are co-sponsoring the project.

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