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Public Policy, Air Quality, and Protecting the Most VulnerableAir Quality and Protecting the Most Vulnerable

Harold J. Farber, MD, MSPH, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Pediatrics, Pulmonary Section, Baylor College of Medicine; Pulmonary Medicine Service, Texas Children’s Hospital; and Medical Affairs, Texas Children’s Health Plan.

Correspondence to: Harold J. Farber, MD, MSPH, FCCP, Department of Pediatrics, Pulmonary Section, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, 6701 Fannin, Ste 1040, Houston, TX 77030; e-mail: hjfarber@texaschildrens.org


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST the following conflict of interest: Dr Farber has given testimony at US Environmental Protection Administration hearings about the need for tighter air quality standards.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;144(4):1093-1094. doi:10.1378/chest.13-0772
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Air quality is one of those interesting areas where public health confronts economics and lifestyle. The burning of either fossil fuels or biomass creates the energy that fuels our economy and makes our lives comfortable, but it also pollutes the air of our small planet and harms our health. Ground level ozone is such a pollutant. It is created by reactions between oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Major sources of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds include emissions from industrial facilities, electricity-generating facilities, gasoline and other chemical solvents, and motor vehicle exhaust. Ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent. Ozone exposure leads to the release of proinflammatory mediators from airway cells.1

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