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Am J Public Health. 2003 Sep;93(9):1494-9.

Breathless in Los Angeles: the exhausting search for clean air.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 236, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


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.

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