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Pollution at schools and children's aerobic capacity

Michelle Marcus

Health Economics, 2021, vol. 30, issue 12, 3016-3031

Abstract: Poor respiratory health is a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide, and children are especially vulnerable. Existing research in economics has documented the effect of pollution on severe health outcomes, such as hospitalizations for asthma and infant death. However, evidence on the effect of air pollution on less extreme measures of respiratory health is limited, because these effects are difficult to measure. Using a more sensitive measure, aerobic capacity (VO2max), I study the impact of air pollution on respiratory performance of children. I combine school‐grade level data from the California Physical Fitness Test from 2009 to 2017 with local air pollution and weather data to estimate the impact on student aerobic capacity of fluctuations in air pollution levels on testing days. Ozone affects child aerobic capacity at levels even below the Environmental Protection Agency thresholds.

Date: 2021
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