Reducing air pollution was associated with increased lung function in children ages 11 to 15, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The new findings suggest that it’s important to continue efforts to improve air quality, say two Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health professors who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

“Some have argued that the substantial improvements in air quality over the past 40 years are sufficient to protect public health and that there is little evidence to support more stringent standards,” wrote Douglas Dockery, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Environmental Health, and James Ware, Frederick Mosteller Professor of Biostatistics and associate dean for clinical and translational science. “However, the current report and other studies suggest that further improvement in air quality may have beneficial public health effects.”

In a March 4, 2015 New York Times article, Dockery noted, “If there is an opportunity to improve air quality, we should think about those types of improvements to benefit our kids.”

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