Sustainable Transportation in Berkeley 


Landmark Study Shows Ill Effects of Air Pollution on Children’s Health

Researchers in Southern California studied the health of nearly 1800 children over an 8-year period, documenting how exposure to polluted air from particulate matter and other pollutants affects the lung development of children, showing diminished lung capacity of less than 80 percent of normal capacity.

The study, published September 9, 2004 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that children exposed to more polluted air were five times more likely to have reduced lung development by age 18 than children raised in more pristine areas. The study also documents the other health risks that go along with slower lung growth in children, including more illness later on in life.

“These findings are applicable to any urban area, with the higher the levels of pollution, the worse the effect on children,” said James Gauderman, the key researcher on the study.

The findings are particularly timely, with fine particulate matter (PM2.5) among the contaminants that state and local officials must now more fully consider.

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