L.A. Story: Cleaner Air, Healthier Kids (USC Blog Post)
Children’s lungs grew stronger as pollution declined in #CleanAirLA and throughout the basin over the past two decades
A 20-year study finds that millennial children in Southern California breathe easier than ones who came of age in the ‘90s, for a reason as clear as the air in Los Angeles today.
The University of Southern California Children’s Health Study measured lung development between the ages of 11 and 15 and found large gains for children studied from 2007 to 2011, compared to children of the same age in the same communities from 1994-98 and 1997-2001.
The gains in lung function paralleled improving air quality in the communities studied, and across the Los Angeles basin, as policies to fight pollution took hold.
The research appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Over 17 years, researchers at the University of Southern California studied air pollution levels as they declined in five regional communities. The scientists also measured breathing capacity in 2,120 schoolchildren from the communities during three periods: …
The research by USC scientists, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the region’s steep decline in air pollution since the mid-1990s is strongly associated with “statistically and clinically significant improvements” in children’s lung function …
Improvement in older children’s lung function was seen in conjunction with declines in ambient air pollutant levels, according to combined results from three population-based, longitudinal studies in Southern California. … Peter Thorne, PhD, professor and head of occupational and environmental health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health in Iowa City, who was not affiliated with the study, said this study “provides convincing evidence that reducing ambient air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and fine
And yet, as locals know but the rest of the world rarely stops to notice, the air quality in America’s second-largest metropolis has been improving dramatically over the past 20 years. The latest evidence comes in a long-running study of lung development in children, … cars, improved public transport systems and better engine technology have all contributed. According to the USC study, those changes have led to fewer stunted lungs and fewer children susceptible to asthma and a host of other respiratory disorders.
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