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Suppression of lung growth by environmental toxins
  1. Jonathan Grigg
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jonathan Grigg, Centre for Child Health, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 2AT, UK; j.grigg{at}

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It is not unreasonable to expect that all children achieve their full lung growth potential. An important dimension of children's lung growth is growth of lung function. Over the last decade, long-term prospective studies have revealed that environmental toxins are an important threat to children's lung function growth. For example, the Southern California Children's Health Study found lower lung function growth in children living in communities with high background concentrations of fossil-fuel-derived particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.1 The cumulative effect of small annual deficits in lung function growth in highly polluted communities is an increased proportion of young adults with clinically low lung function (<80% predicted)1—a deficit that increases the risk of respiratory symptoms in adult life. The high prevalence of air pollution therefore means that most children growing up in medium-income and high-income countries will fail to achieve their maximum lung function growth potential. The difficulty of measuring FEV1, and FVC from birth to 6 years of age …

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