The Air We Breathe

We have researched and gathered together numerous links to information about children and their environmental health. You may access this information by choosing a category from the menu to the right.

Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Air Pollution

Associations have been found between day-to-day particulate air pollution and increased risk of various adverse health outcomes, including cardiopulmonary mortality. However, studies of health effects of long-term particulate air pollution have been less conclusive. Read more about the study to assess the relationship between long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution and all-cause, lung cancer, and cardiopulmonary mortality. The conclusion was found that long-term exposure to combustion-related fine particulate air pollution is an important environmental risk factor for cardiopulmonary and lung cancer mortality.

Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Texas Institute for the Indoor Environment

Urban residents spend approximately 90% of their time indoors (US EPA 1996b). During their kindergarten, elementary and secondary education years, children will spend a minimum of 23% of their time inside of a school building. By comparison, they spend 5­10% of their time outdoors. Given that it is unhealthy, particularly for children and the elderly, when outdoor pollutant levels exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (US EPA 1997), we become even more concerned when children and the elderly are exposed to environments where concentrations of air pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than the maximum acceptable outdoor levels (US EPA 1995).

Air Pollution Fact Sheet

WWF Air Pollution Factsheet

Environmental Literacy Council

Air pollution is the contamination of air by the discharge of harmful substances. Air pollution can cause health problems including burning eyes and nose, itchy irritated throat, and breathing problems. Some chemicals found in polluted air can cause cancer, birth defects, brain and nerve damage, and long-term injury to the lungs and breathing passages in certain circumstances. Above certain concentrations and durations, certain air pollutants are extremely dangerous and can cause severe injury or death.

Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Children’s Health Protection

American Academy of Family Physicians

Outdoor Air Pollution: Possible Health Effects

Air pollution is made up of many kinds of gases, droplets and particles that reduce the quality of the air. Air can be polluted in both the city and the country.

American Lung Association

Children and Ozone Air Pollution

While exposure to ozone air pollution causes adverse health effects in most people, children are especially susceptible to these effects. Children spend significantly more time outdoors, especially in the summertime when ozone levels are the highest. National statistics show that children spend an average of 50 percent more time outdoors than do adults.

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Air Pollution and Health

Air pollution is a general term for a variety of substances and gases in our air that pose risks to health. Pollutants include nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and some naturally occurring substances such as pollen. The combination of nitrogen oxides and VOCs in the presence of sunlight forms ozone, the major constituent of smog. Ozone has been shown to exacerbate asthma and cause shortness of breath and lung damage.