Skip to main content
Open access
Research Article
1 June 1999

A theoretical basis for investigating ambient air pollution and children's respiratory health.

Publication: Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 107, Issue suppl 3
Pages 403 - 407


Acute respiratory health effects in children from exposure at current ambient levels of ozone are well documented; however, evidence for acute effects from other criteria pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and respirable particles is inconsistent. Whether chronic effects result from long-term exposure to any of these pollutants during childhood is an important unresolved question. Establishing whether acute or chronic effects result from childhood exposure and identifying sensitive subgroups may require integration of biologic mechanisms of lung defenses, injury, and response into the study design and statistical models used in analyses. This review explores the theoretical basis for explaining such adverse effects in light of our contemporary understanding of mechanisms of lung injury and response at the cellular and molecular levels. The rapidly evolving understanding of the effects of air pollution on cellular and molecular levels presents an opportunity to develop and refine innovative biologically based hypotheses about the effects of childhood exposure. We hypothesize that children with low fruit and vegetable intake, low antioxidant levels, high polyunsaturated fat intake, or who have inherited certain alleles for genes involved in lung defenses and immune response regulation may be at increased risk for adverse effects. Because responses to air pollutants of interest are complex and involve a number of pathophysiologic processes, the magnitude of main effects of dietary factors, genes, and gene-environment interactions may be modest for individuals; however, each may make an important contribution to the population burden of preventable respiratory diseases.

Formats available

You can view the full content in the following formats:

Information & Authors


Published In

Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 107Issue suppl 3June 1999
Pages: 403 - 407
PubMed: 10346989


Published online: 1 June 1999



F D Gilliland
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA. [email protected]
R McConnell
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA. [email protected]
J Peters
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA. [email protected]
H Gong, Jr
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA. [email protected]

Metrics & Citations


About Article Metrics


Download citation

If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click DOWNLOAD.

Cited by

  • The EMPOWER program: a history and guide for increasing diversity using integrated research and education, Advances in Physiology Education, 10.1152/advan.00123.2023, 48, 2, (395-406), (2024).
  • Air pollution might affect the clinical course of COVID-19 in pediatric patients, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2022.113651, 239, (113651), (2022).
  • Pulmonary Effects Due to Physical Exercise in Polluted Air: Evidence from Studies Conducted on Healthy Humans, Applied Sciences, 10.3390/app11072890, 11, 7, (2890), (2021).
  • The effect of photocatalytic coatings on NOx concentrations in real-world street canyons, Building and Environment, 10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.108312, 205, (108312), (2021).
  • Interleukin‑35 reduces inflammation in acute lung injury through inhibiting TLR4/NF‑κB signaling pathways, Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 10.3892/etm.2020.8407, (2020).
  • Ambient air pollution and sickle cell disease-related emergency department visits in Atlanta, GA, Environmental Research, 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109292, 184, (109292), (2020).
  • Heat Waves and Rising Temperatures: Human Health Impacts and the Determinants of Vulnerability, Climate Change and Global Public Health, 10.1007/978-3-030-54746-2_7, (123-161), (2020).
  • Review of the effect of air pollution exposure from industrial point sources on asthma-related effects in childhood, Environmental Epidemiology, 10.1097/EE9.0000000000000077, 3, 6, (e077), (2019).
  • Heavy Metal Mixture Exposure and Effects in Developing Nations: An Update, Toxics, 10.3390/toxics6040065, 6, 4, (65), (2018).
  • Localized real-time information on outdoor air quality at kindergartens in Oslo, Norway using low-cost sensor nodes, Environmental Research, 10.1016/j.envres.2017.10.019, 165, (410-419), (2018).

View Options

View options


View PDF

Get Access

Restore your content access

Enter your email address to restore your content access:

Note: This functionality works only for purchases done as a guest. If you already have an account, log in to access the content to which you are entitled.







Copy the content Link

Share on social media