AirPollution and Children's Respiratory Health: A Cohort Analysis
Timothy K.M. Beatty, Jay P. Shimshack
This paper uses a large database of multiple birth cohorts to study relationships between air pollution exposure and non-infant children's respiratory health outcomes. We observe several years of early-life health treatments for hundreds of thousands of English children. Three distinct research designs account for potential socioeconomic, behavioral, seasonal, and economic confounders. We find that marginal increases in carbon monoxide and ground-level ozone are associated with statistically significant increases in children's contemporaneous respiratory treatments. We also find that carbon monoxide exposure over the previous year has an effect on children's health that goes above and beyond contemporaneous exposure alone.
What have we learned? We find that: (1) observed health effects of CO and O3 for non-infant children's respiratory health outcomes are significant, and (2) exposure to CO over the previous year has a significant effect on observed children's health that goes above and beyond contemporaneous exposure alone. Since the literature emphasizing the isolation of causal effects of pollution typically focuses on short-term outcomes for infants and adults, we believe our results add to the literature. Existing evidence emphasizing causal influences of criteria air pollution on non-fatal morbidity impacts for non-infant children is limited, existing evidence establishing causal influences of CO on respiratory outcomes is limited, and existing evidence supporting causal impacts of longer-term pollution exposure (especially CO exposure) is limited.