(Sept. 9, 2004) -- The first long-term study of the effect of air pollution on children indicates that contaminated air stunts lung development in teenagers and the effects could extend well into adulthood.
The findings, co-authored by personnel from USC's Department of Preventive Medicine, the CA Air Resources Board, Sonoma Technology and the University of British Columbia, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Sept. 9, also indicate that existing pollution controls in many parts of the United States are inadequate, reports Reuters (link below).
"The results of this study indicate that current levels of air pollution have chronic, adverse effects on lung development in children from the age of 10 to 18 years, leading to clinically significant deficits in attained FEV1 [lung function measured by forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1)] as children reach adulthood," says an abstract of the study on the New England Journal of Medicine web site.
The abstract indicates lung development deficits were associated with exposure to nitrogen dioxide, acid vapor, particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 Ám (PM2.5) and elemental carbon.
The study comes as CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger considers whether to sign, veto or allow to become law without his signature AB 2042 to keep air pollution from increasing beyond current levels as the Ports of LB and L.A. grow.
The City of LB (by its elected City Council) supports the bill and at its Sept. 7 meeting, voted 8-0 (Councilwoman Lowenthal absent for entire meeting) to urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the bill.
The Port of LB (by its non-elected Board of Harbor Commissioners) opposes the bill and the Port's Executive Director has said he favors having the Governor veto the bill.
To view Reuters coverage of the study, click Reuters: Air Pollution Retards Teen Lung Growth -- Study