Release 04-14      

June 24, 2004


Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
ARB's Ten-Year Children's Health Study Complete

-- The landmark Children’s Health Study, funded by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), is nearing to a close having produced numerous new findings on the effects of air pollution on children’s health. This ten-year, $18 million study produced results showing how air pollution reduces children’s lung growth and function, impacts respiratory health in asthmatic children, including new asthma cases and contributes to increased school absences.

ARB Chairman, Dr. Alan Lloyd said, “This study has added greatly to our basic understanding of air pollution’s effects on our children’s health and reinforced the need to continue our efforts to reduce the pollution affecting millions of children.”

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC), was the nation’s first large-scale effort to study the effects of long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution in children, one of our most sensitive populations.

The study followed more than 5,500 children at 52 schools in twelve Southern California communities from elementary through high school to track how different outdoor air pollution exposures affect respiratory health. The majority of children enrolled in the program as fourth-graders and were followed through high school.

The major findings of the study were: 

Outdoor pollution monitoring tracked levels of ozone, nitrogen oxide, acid vapor and particulate matter over the ten-year study. In addition, limited indoor pollution measurements were taken at schools and in homes. Each spring, the lung function of each child was tested and annual questionnaires collected information about respiratory symptoms and diseases, physical activity, time spent outdoors, and factors such as parental smoking, and mold and pets in the household.

The 12 communities studied were: Atascadero in San Luis Obispo County; Lompoc and Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County; Lake Arrowhead and Upland in San Bernardino County; Lancaster, Long Beach and San Dimas in Los Angeles County; Lake Elsinore, Mira Loma and Riverside in Riverside County; and, Alpine in San Diego County.

A final report of the study is being produced and will be posted to the ARB website for downloading, along with a list of the 72 published scientific papers produced by the USC researchers. The study has been cosponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, South Coast Air Quality Management District and other local air pollution control districts.

To view a copy of the report, click here.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our website at

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