Early-life air pollution linked with childhood asthma in minorities

In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers led by UCSF scientists found that infants in minority populations who are exposed to motor vehicle air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide (NO2), are more likely to develop asthma later in childhood.

The study’s lead author, Katherine Nishimura, MPH, is a graduate student in the lab of senior author Esteban Burchard, MD, MPH, a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine. Nishimura is interested in environmental and genetic risk factors for common chronic diseases, including asthma.

Given their findings that increases in NO2 exposure during the first year of life are linked with a higher risk of developing asthma later on, the study’s authors called for stricter air quality standards. The national standard for NO2 levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is “too lax by far,” says Burchard.

The study is currently reported online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ahead of print publication.


Early-life Air Pollution Linked with Childhood Asthma in Minorities, in Study - UCSF


School of Pharmacy, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, PharmD Degree Program, PSPG

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.