Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: The effects of ambient air pollution on school absenteeism due to respiratory illnesses.

Authors: Gilliland, F D; Berhane, K; Rappaport, E B; Thomas, D C; Avol, E; Gauderman, W J; London, S J; Margolis, H G; McConnell, R; Islam, K T; Peters, J M

Published In Epidemiology, (2001 Jan)

Abstract: We investigated the relations between ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and respirable particles less than 10 microm in diameter (PM10) and school absenteeism in a cohort of 4th-grade school children who resided in 12 southern California communities. An active surveillance system ascertained the numbers and types of absences during the first 6 months of 1996. Pollutants were measured hourly at central-site monitors in each of the 12 communities. To examine acute effects of air pollution on absence rates, we fitted a two-stage time-series model to the absence count data that included distributed lag effects of exposure adjusted for long-term pollutant levels. Short-term change in O3, but not NO2 or PM10, was associated with a substantial increase in school absences from both upper and lower respiratory illness. An increase of 20 ppb of O3 was associated with an increase of 62.9% [95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 18.4-124.1%] for illness-related absence rates, 82.9% (95% CI = 3.9-222.0%) for respiratory illnesses, 45.1% (95% CI = 21.3-73.7%) for upper respiratory illnesses, and 173.9% (95% CI = 91.3-292.3%) for lower respiratory illnesses with wet cough. The short-term effects of a 20-ppb change of O3 on illness-related absenteeism were larger in communities with lower long-term average PM10 [223.5% (95% CI = 90.4-449.7)] compared with communities with high average levels [38.1% (95% CI = 8.5-75.8)]. Increased school absenteeism from O3 exposure in children is an important adverse effect of ambient air pollution worthy of public policy consideration.

PubMed ID: 11138819 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Absenteeism*; Air Pollutants/analysis; Air Pollution/adverse effects*; Child; Cohort Studies; Female; Humans; Los Angeles/epidemiology; Male; Nitric Oxide/analysis; Ozone/analysis; Respiratory Tract Diseases/epidemiology; Respiratory Tract Diseases/etiology*; Schools

to Top