The Research Division at CARB has funded a number of studies focused on increasing our understanding of how air pollution exposure impacts children's health. One of the largest and most in-depth studies ever conducted on long-term air pollution and children’s respiratory health, the Children’s Health Study (CHS), received funding from CARB. The study, performed by University of Southern California (USC) researchers, examined whether long-term exposure to ambient ozone, particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and strong acid vapor were responsible for chronic respiratory health problems in children in Southern California. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) began funding the CHS in 2005. Under NIH funding the study has investigated the effect of air pollution on a variety of additional health endpoints, including, among others, birth outcomes, the effect of in-utero exposure on asthma risk, the respiratory effects of exposure to traffic-related pollution, and whether there are genetic variants that predispose individuals to air pollution-related health effects. This study has been influential in ensuring that ambient air quality standards, both national and state, adequately protect the health of children.
However, current studies examining long-term health trends in the Children’s Health Study participants have found that the recent reductions of air pollution in the South Coast Basin are associated with significantly reduced bronchitic symptoms and clinically significant positive effects on lung-function growth in these children. These studies help to demonstrate how CARB’s regulations to reduce pollution emissions can result in health benefits in one of our most sensitive groups, our children.
Continued work in children’s health and exposure found that children in lower income neighborhoods that are highly exposed to traffic pollution have more respiratory symptoms, both lower income and minority status are related to an increased risk of air pollution impacts and living near traffic, minority status and lack of private insurance were risk factors for worsening asthma in children with exposure to short term elevations of air pollution.