Clin Exp Pediatr.  2021 Jan;64(1):3-11. 10.3345/cep.2019.00843.

Review of epidemiological studies on air pollution and health effects in children

  • 1Division of Health Policy and Management, College of Health Science, Korea University, Seoul, Korea


There is a growing body of literature on the adverse health effects of ambient air pollution. Children are more adversely affected by air pollution due to their biological susceptibility and exposure patterns. This review summarized the accumulated epidemiologic evidence with emphasis on studies conducted in Korea and heterogeneity in the literature. Based on systematic reviews and meta-analyses, there is consistent evidence on the association between exposure to ambient air pollution and children’s health, especially respiratory health and adverse birth outcomes, and growing evidence on neurodevelopmental outcomes. Despite these existing studies, the mechanism of the adverse health effects of air pollution and the critical window of susceptibility remain unclear. There is also a need to identify causes of heterogeneity between studies in terms of measurement of exposure/outcome, study design, and the differential characteristics of air pollutants and population.


Air pollution; Children; Respiratory health; Birth outcomes; Infant mortality; Neurodevelopment
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