LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Improvements in Southern California's air quality over the past two decades have resulted in significant benefits for children's respiratory health, USC researchers have found.
The new University of Southern California study looked at 4,600 children in eight SoCal communities, tracking how their level of respiratory symptoms like bronchitis and congestion matched up with levels of particulate matter in the air.
It found that as air quality improved, children reported fewer respiratory symptoms.
The levels of particulate matter - mostly pollution from cars and heavy industry - dropped by about 47 percent over 20 years thanks to stronger state environmental regulations. In that same time period, children with asthma were 32 percent less likely to report bronchitic symptoms and children without asthma were 21 percent less likely.
"The fact that you know clean air leads to better health in children should be taken seriously because it really has implications for how we live and how productive we become," said Dr. Kiros Berhane, the study's lead author.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.