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 Childhood asthma and poor lung function- more evidence of no 'safe' level of air pollution

August 2018

The Australian Child Health and Air Pollution Study (ACHAPS): A national population-based cross-sectional study of long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution, asthma, and lung function

Luke D.Knibbs, Adriana M.Cortés de Waterman, Brett G.Toelle, Yuming Guo, Lyn Denison, Bin Jalaludin, Guy B.Marks, Gail M.Williams

Athsma puffer.jpg

What did the study find?

This publication was based on the Australian Child Health and Air Pollution Study which looked at 2,630 Australian children aged 7 to 11 years. For each child we looked at the association between exposure to nitrogen dioxide (an indicator of traffic-related air pollution), asthma and lung function. The study found that even through air pollution levels in Australian cities are low by international standards, these low levels still have adverse health impacts on childhood respiratory health. 


Why does it matter?

There has been a lot of research internationally on the link between air pollution and health. But these studies have typically been in countries with air pollution levels higher than in Australia. Therefore there is a need to understand whether the link between air pollution and poor health still holds in Australian cities. This study supports a growing pool of evidence suggesting that even low levels of air pollution (as found in Australian cities) are detrimental to our health. Most people think that air pollution in Australia is not a concern because we mostly sit under the air quality standard set by the government. But these findings suggest that there is no 'safe' standard of air quality. Rather, we need to continuously minimise air pollution levels wherever possible. 

CAR members involved in this study

  • Luke Knibbs

  • Yuming Guo

  • Bin Jalaludin

  • Guy Marks

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