Smog’s harmful effect on health is widely understood. The noxious mixture of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter wreaks havoc on the entire body. Lung, brain and heart health suffer but it also has been linked to behavioral problems, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity.

However, none of this was established in 1992 when a team of University of California public health researchers, led by the late John Peters, MD, DSc, MPH, launched a long-term investigation into the effects of air pollution on children. More than 30 years later, the ongoing Southern California Children’s Health Study has changed the nation’s understanding of air pollution’s harms — and shown how clean air standards can make a difference.

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