Cleaner air results in better lung health in children, says a new study done in California.
Efforts to enhance air quality can improve children’s lung health in the short term and might also make a difference for those kids later in life, showed the study.
Children in California were found to experience improved lung function as levels of air pollution in the state declined between 1994 and 2011.
"We saw about a 10-percent improvement in the amount that children’s lung capacity grew over a four-year period," said Jim Gauderman, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California.
Children who were examined during the period from 2007 to 2011 were compared with children examined during the mid-1990s
"We have seen dramatic improvements in air quality in Southern California, and this study demonstrates that it has resulted in substantial improvements in children’s respiratory health," Gauderman was quoted as telling Live Science.
The researchers evaluated over 2,100 children, ages 11 to 15.
They measured lung function in one group of children every year between 1994 and 1998; a second group was evaluated from 1997 to 2001, and a third between 2007 and 2011.
The reduced emissions from cars, trucks, trains and ships, along with lower levels of industrial pollutants produced beneficial effects on the teens’ lung function.
The health improvements seen in the teens were most closely linked to lower concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, whereas the changes were linked to a lesser extent with ozone, Gauderman explained.
The study appeared in New England Journal of Medicine.