Breathless in Los Angeles: the exhausting search for clean air

Am J Public Health. 2003 Sep;93(9):1494-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.9.1494.


Population growth and the proliferation of roadways in Southern California have facilitated a glut of mobile air pollution sources (cars and trucks), resulting in substantial atmospheric pollution. Despite successful efforts over the past 40 years to reduce pollution, an alarming set of health effects attributable to air pollution have been described in Southern California. The Children's Health Study indicates that reduced lung function growth, increased school absences, asthma exacerbation, and new-onset asthma are occurring at current levels of air pollution, with sizable economic consequences. We describe these findings and urge a more aggressive effort to reduce air pollution exposures to protect our children's health. Lessons from this "case study" have national implications.

Publication types

  • 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

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Inhalation Exposure / prevention & control
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Lung / growth & development
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Maximum Allowable Concentration
  • Public Policy*
  • Respiration Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Respiration Disorders / epidemiology
  • Time
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis
  • Vehicle Emissions / poisoning*
  • Vehicle Emissions / prevention & control


  • Vehicle Emissions