The current levels of ozone pollution in California’s South Coast Air Basin contribute to increased risk of hospitalization for children with asthma, according to an 18-year study. These findings highlight the impact of emissions on public health.

The association between five different pollutants and asthma-related hospital admissions were studied. Of those five, ozone was the only pollutant to be associated with an increase in asthma-related hospital admissions over the 18-year study period.

“In terms of numbers, morbidity and health care costs, asthma is the most important chronic disease of childhood, with estimated medical care costs over $1 billion in 2005. Hospitalization and visits to emergency rooms are major contributors to childhood asthma-related health care costs, and account for approximately 12% of care costs for asthma in children 5-17 years old,” says Kelly Moor, lead author, of the University of California Berkeley.

The complete article is available online in Environmental Health Perspectives.