Association between air pollution and lung function growth in southern California children: results from a second cohort

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002 Jul 1;166(1):76-84. doi: 10.1164/rccm.2111021.


A cohort of 1,678 Southern California children, enrolled as fourth graders in 1996, was followed for 4 years to determine whether the growth in lung function of the children was associated with their exposure to ambient air pollutants. These subjects comprised the second cohort of fourth grade children participating in the Children's Health Study. Significant deficits in lung function growth rate were associated with exposure to acid vapor, NO(2), particles with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 microm (PM(2.5)), and elemental carbon. For example, the average annual growth rates of maximal midexpiratory flow and forced expiratory volume in 1 second were reduced by approximately 11% (p = 0.005) and 5% (p = 0.03), respectively, across the observed range of acid exposure. Exposure to acid vapor was also associated with reductions in the ratio of maximal midexpiratory flow to forced vital capacity (p = 0.02), whereas exposure to ozone was correlated with reduced growth in peak flow rate (p = 0.006). Larger deficits in lung function growth rate were observed in children who reported spending more time outdoors. These findings provide important replication of our previous findings of an effect of air pollution on lung function growth that were based on the first fourth-grade cohort from the Children's Health Study (Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000;162:1383-1390).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • California
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Respiratory Mechanics*


  • Air Pollutants