Even Comparatively Clean Air Could Exacerbate Asthma, Study Shows

What constitutes a safe level of pollution? For children suffering from severe asthma, there might not be such a thing, according to research published in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a study of 271 kids under the age of 12 in Massachusetts and Connecticut, those with bad asthma started experiencing shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness when exposed to what the U.S. EPA considers “good” pollution levels. When ozone pollution was near the high end of the zero-to-60 parts per billion “good” range, “we found an immediate, same-day effect of ozone on wheeze, chest tightness and shortness of breath,” the researchers wrote. Ozone is generated by vehicles, industry emissions, and oil refining, among other sources.