Dr. Heather Brumberg Co-Lead Authors American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Effects of Ambient Air Pollution on Children’s Health
Air pollution has been shown to worsen a multitude of chronic diseases
Heather L. Brumberg, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, professor of pediatrics and of clinical public health, has co-lead authored a new policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Environmental Health on the effects of ambient air pollution on children’s health and recommendations for lessening its impact. The policy statement, which was published in the June 2021 issue of Pediatrics, draws on considerably expanded research since AAP’s last statement in 2004.
"We know that infants and children are uniquely sensitive to air pollution because their bodies are developing. They also breathe in more air in relation to their body weight than adults do," said Dr. Brumberg. "We have seen that in 'natural experiments' where efforts to decrease traffic during the1996 and 2008 Olympics, for instance both air quality and resultant community health improved. We must continue to more consciously work toward improving air quality."
Air pollution has been shown to worsen chronic diseases such as asthma and is associated with preterm births, abnormal lung and neurodevelopment, pediatric cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease risk.
“Air quality is something we take for granted. We don't always realize how much it affects our health, climate and thus the life of the planet," said Dr. Brumberg. "Pediatricians can help make changes, small and big, with education and advocacy on behalf of children."