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Medical News & Perspectives
October 27, 2004

Study: Smog Stunts Lung Growth in Young

JAMA. 2004;292(16):1945. doi:10.1001/jama.292.16.1945

According to the most comprehensive study ever conducted on air pollution and children’s health, pollutants from vehicle emissions and fossil fuels are causing chronic, adverse effects on lung development in many children.

Data from the Children’s Health Study indicate that children who live in polluted communities are more likely to have reductions in lung capacity compared with those at low levels of exposure (N Engl J Med. 2004;351:1057-1067). In this prospective study, researchers measured lung function of 1759 fourth-grade children (whose average age was 10 years) recruited from schools in 12 southern California communities. These children had their lung function tested annually for 8 consecutive years, and researchers tracked the levels of air pollutants in the children’s communities.