Project at a Glance

Title: Epidemiologic investigation to identify chronic health effects of ambient air pollutants in Southern California.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Peters, John M

Contractor: University of Southern California

Contract Number: A033-186

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Acid Deposition, Health Effects of Air Pollution


Air pollution in Southern California continues to pose significant challenges to regulatory agencies and health professionals. Over 12 million people currently reside in the region, and many population projections predict that this number will continue to increase. Several rnillion persons living in the region are exposed to pollution levels that have been associated, in laboratory and field investigations with acute and sub-acute, respiratory effects. Reported laboratory observations include decrements in pulmonary function, increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms, and respiratory tract inflammation. The paramount question is whether chronic respiratory disease occurs as a result of breathing this polluted air. To address this question we have embarked on 21 three phase research project. The first phase (Phase 1) was to evaluate and consider the best approaches to .follow in measuring exposures, in assessing health effects and in selecting populations for study. This phase was completed and repotted on in 1992 (Peters, et al., 1992). The second phase (Phase II), the actual cross-sectional study of children living in Southern California, is the subject of this report. Children from 12 communities were studied during the school year ending in 1993. This was repeated during the school year ending in 1994. Phase III is underway and is following the children identified in 1993 augmented by about 2000 new fourth grade children from the school year 1995/96. The Phase 11 cross-sectional study was conducted to provide early information on the possible chronic effects of air pollution in Southern California children and to determine if effects are found which pollutant (or pollutants) is responsible. To do this, about 3,600 children from 12 communities with differing air pollution patterns were studied. About one-half of the children were in the fourth grade, about one-quarter in the seventh and about one-quarter in the tenth.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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