Reductions in air pollution in southern California have been accompanied by a significant decrease in childhood lung problems, according to a paper co-authored by STI Chief Scientist Fred Lurmann that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers studied 4,602 children from eight southern California communities over three time periods: 1993 to 2001, 1996 to 2004, and 2003 to 2012. The research found that decreases in ambient pollution levels over the two decades were associated with a significant decrease in respiratory symptoms among the children. For example, a 47% reduction in fine particles (PM2.5) from 1992 to 2011 was associated with a 32% decrease in respiratory symptoms in children with asthma and a 21% decrease in respiratory systems in children without asthma. The researchers also associated decreases in ozone and nitrogen dioxide concentrations with decreases in respiratory symptoms. The paper can be read on the Journal’s website.
This finding expands on the ongoing research of the Southern California Children's Health Study (led by the University of Southern California), which Mr. Lurmann has contributed to since 1990.