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Pulmonary Health Effects of Air Pollution
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  • Description:
    Purpose of the review

    Air pollution continues to be a major public health concern affecting nine out of ten individuals living in urban areas worldwide. Exposure to air pollution is the ninth leading risk factor for cardiopulmonary mortality. The aim of this review is to examine the current literature for the most recent updates on health effects of specific air pollutants and their impact on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and respiratory infection.

    Recent findings

    A total of 53 publications were reviewed to establish new insights as to how air pollution is associated with pulmonary morbidity and mortality. Considerable past evidence suggests that air pollution is an important factor that enhances pulmonary disease, while also causing greater harm in susceptible populations, such as children, the elderly and those of low socio-economic status worldwide. Asthma, COPD, lung cancer and respiratory infections all seem to be exacerbated due to exposure to a variety of environmental air pollutants with the greatest effects due to particulate matter (PM), ozone and nitrogen oxides. New publications reviewed reaffirm these findings.


    Continued vigilence will be essential to lessen the effects of air pollution on human health and pulmonary disease. Cooperation at a multi-national level will be required on the part of governments, industry, energy-based enterprises and the public working together to solve our air quality issues at the local, national and global level.

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  • Funding:
    P30 ES023513/ES/NIEHS NIH HHS/United States
    P51 OD011107/OD/NIH HHS/United States
    U54 OH007550/OH/NIOSH CDC HHS/United States
    OHO7550/PHS HHS/United States
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