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Children's Health Research regarding Asthma

Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for millions of American adults and children.  In 2009, asthma affected 7.1 million (about 10%) of children in the United States. Environmental factors and non chemical stressors can contribute to asthma severity, and recent evidence shows that air pollution may actually cause asthma. EPA is conducting research to investigate the causes of childhood asthma.

Understanding effects of air pollution

Living and working near sources of air pollution can lead to higher exposures to air contaminants, many of which contribute to adverse health effects including asthma. EPA is researching the health effects of air pollutants to protect children and adults and improve community health

Developing tools and models to help decision makers

EPA is developing decision support tools and models for state, tribal, and local governments and other organizations to make sound decisions about community development and healthy environments, and to avoid unintended consequences.

Piloting an integrative design for evaluating environmental health

Numerous environmental and personal factors are associated with the onset and exacerbation of health effects, including asthma. An integrative approach can support a better understanding of effects caused by several factors such as genetic, environmental, or a combination of factors. EPA is investigating the relationship between environmental factors, physiological biomarkers, genetic susceptibility and asthma.

Collaborating to understand the effects of environmental factors on children's health

EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) jointly sponsor the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers. These centers were established to explore ways to reduce children’s health risks, including asthma, from environmental factors. Research from these centers provide valuable insight into how to better prevent children’s exposure to air pollutants that may lead to asthma. Examples of asthma-specific research at the centers include the following: