Updated May 25, 2107
Brief, acute exposure to ozone and particulate matter reduce lung function even in young, healthy adults. Reduced lung function can last for a week after the pollution exposure is over.
Long term air pollution exposure can actually stunt the growth of lung function and size in children, setting them up for life long impaired lung function that is likely irreversible. Lung function is highly correlated with life expectancy.
Acute and chronic air pollution is associated with increased rates of exacerbations, hospitalization, and death from virtually every known respiratory disease from neonates to the elderly. Air pollution likely plays a causative role in the increasingly common asthma, or reactive airway disease.
The correlation between pulmonary diseases and air pollution is still found at concentrations far below the current EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards.