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C. Researchers Study How Air Pollutants Affect Children

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, Davis are looking closely at how air pollutants can affect quality of life. Kent Pinkerton, director of the UC Davis Center for Health and the Environment is studying microscopic changes that occur in cells when they react to air pollutants particularly in children.

Pinkerton: The children that are most affected are those who are the youngest who have a developing immune system, they're still developing their ability to metabolize things. These are the children who are most likely to be susceptible to environmental air pollutants.

Narrator: Pinkerton's studies focus on the San Joaquin Valley in California where bad air is responsible for the nation's highest rates of asthma in children.

Pinkerton: And the studies that we've been doing there are primarily targeted to better understanding if airborne particles within urban areas can actually lead to changes in heart rate variability, as well as changes in the lung, that might be a reflection of something that's going on.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.