Health effects of ambient air pollution in children

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2007 Dec;8(4):275-80. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2007.08.008. Epub 2007 Oct 31.


Children seem to be most vulnerable to the harmful effects of ambient air pollutants because their defence mechanisms are still evolving and because they inhale a higher volume of air per body weight than adults. Air pollutants can also harm the foetus if the mother is exposed to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy. An increase in respiratory neonatal mortality has been associated with ambient levels of air pollutants. Exposure to fine particles has been shown to increase allergen sensitisation, increase the risk of worsening asthma and decrease lung function. Lung growth, as measured by lung function, seems to be adversely affected in children exposed to various oxidant air pollutants. Oxidative stress is the main underlying mechanism responsible for the harmful effects of air pollutants and preliminary studies have indicated that antioxidant supplementation can offer some protection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution
  • Bronchi / ultrastructure
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Infant
  • Lung / growth & development
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Particulate Matter*
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiration
  • Vehicle Emissions


  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions