Fresno Children's Asthma Study Seeks More Participants
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – A study of asthmatic children in the Fresno area is seeking more youngsters to participate.
The five-year Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (FACES) is funded with $4.5 million from the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB). FACES seeks to learn how natural and man-made air pollutants influence the way a child's asthma progresses over time.
ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd said, "The FACES study is unique because it is looking for specific links between air pollution and asthma in children. This is a step toward understanding how both indoor and outdoor air pollution can affect respiratory disease in youngsters."
Participating children, ages 6 to 11, are from 60 different elementary schools in Fresno and Clovis, a demographically diverse area. More than 230 prospective participants have asked to join, of which 165 are eligible. The study is recruiting asthmatic children, to bring the total participants to 300. Those interested in joining the study or receiving more information can telephone (559) 294-6700.
FACES began in November 2000 and will measure the influence of air pollution on the course of children's asthma over 4 years. This is the first study to address the long-term effects of air pollution on asthma and the first to comprehensively monitor both the health and the environment of the participating children. The respiratory health of participants is evaluated at enrollment at least every six months. Their environment is monitored for widely present air pollutants, pollens and molds.
Many enrolled participants have already had their first interview. Children and their parents have made positive comments about their visit to the FACES offices. Many of the children said they looked forward to their next visit because it was a positive experience.
New cases of asthma are increasing in California and elsewhere, especially among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 17 million Americans suffer from asthma and there are more than 5300 asthma-related deaths annually. Asthma affects more than 4.8 million children under the age of 18 and the prevalence of the disease increased 75 percent between1980 and 1994. According to the American Lung Assn., the cost of asthma-related school absences is approaching $1 billion.
FACES is a collaborative project that includes researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at San Francisco, the California Department of Health Services and Sonoma Technology, Inc. and ARB staff. Study results are expected in 2005.