There is growing interest in disentangling the health effects of spatially clustered social and physical environmental exposures and in exploring potential synergies among them, with particular attention directed to the combined effects of psychosocial stress and air pollution.

Chen et al. (2008) examined the potential for social stressors to influence responsiveness to environmental pollution. Contrary to their initial hypothesis, and to results we reported previously (Clougherty et al. 2007), their findings indicated that chronic stress was associated with asthma symptoms and heightened inflammatory profiles only in low nitrogen dioxide areas. We would like to note several key issues in the emerging research on social susceptibility to environmental pollutants that should be considered as research on this work moves forward. (Correspondence)