Study: Reduced pollution has positive impact on children's health

Reduced pollution has been statistically and clinically linked to lung-function growth in children ages 11 to 15, according to a study published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. This is the first study to make a definitive association between pollution and lung-function and show the extent of the relationship.

The study examined three cohorts of children, totaling 2,120 kids, from five California communities over 17 years. Children ages 11 to 15 were chosen, as this time period is critical for lung development. Researchers compared air pollution levels as they declined in the communities to the children's breathing ability and lung capacity. Measurements were taken in three intervals: 1994 to 1998, 1997 to 2001 and 2007 to 2011.

The study showed improved lung-function development with improved air quality in both boys and girls, both children with asthma and children without asthma and across race and ethnicities.

Children may not notice the difference, lead author of the study, W. James Gauderman, PhD, told The New York Times. However, children who are exposed to cleaner air may be healthier than those who grow up in a more polluted environment he said.


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