Many human studies have shown a correlation between air pollution and poor health in children. This paper focuses on studies that employ quasi-experimental designs to study the effects of air pollution on specific populations in an effort to isolate the causes and minimize the effect of confounding factors. Human studies of many and varied designs have found that exposure to some pollutants, even at levels below regulatory thresholds, adversely affects health. Our review of quasiexperimental studies adds additional support to these findings. Together, the research suggests that lowering the thresholds for acceptable air pollution levels may be a prudent and necessary step toward improving population health, especially among the most vulnerable members of society: infants and children. Policy makers should also consider providing specific information to families and pregnant women about when and where the risk of pollution exposure is highest, so that they can minimize their exposure or avoid it altogether.
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