Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California , Davis are studying the microscopic changes that occur in our cells in reaction to air pollutants. Kent Pinkerton, director of the UC Davis Center for Health and the Environment, is co-leading an eight million dollar project to study air pollution in California 's San Joaquin Valley, which has one of the nation's highest rates of asthma in children.
Pinkerton: One thing that is really important is try to understand what is it in the air that's producing health effects. If we can understand if it's based on the size of the particles that are being inhaled, or the chemical composition of the particles through make up, I think that would help us in going forward tremendously in better understanding why there is a health effect associated with breathing in these particles.
Narrator: The researchers are currently analyzing completed studies of late summer effects of airborne particles in urban areas to see if they can actually lead to changes in the heart and lungs. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.