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New asthma cases fell as pollution goes down in Los Angeles


Children who live in areas with bad air pollution are more likely to develop asthma, which is the most common chronic illness among young people. But what happens when you clean up the air. Does that actually protect the health of kids??

A 20-year study finds that millennial children in Southern California breathe easier than youngsters who came of age in the ’90s, for a reason as clear as the air in Los Angeles.

The study says, as levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in the air went down, the number of children who developed asthma went down, too. On average, the researchers found a reduction in total asthma rates for around 20 percent.

The findings appear in the May 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“While the findings show a clear benefit of lower air pollution levels, there must be continued efforts to reduce air pollution in our region,” said first author Erika Garcia.

There’s been a concerted effort in California over the period of this study to reduce motor vehicle emissions in general and diesel emissions in particular,” John Balmes, professor of environmental health at UC San Francisco, told NPR. “And I think this study shows that it’s paying off.”



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