Logo of amjphAmerican Journal of Public Health Web SiteAmerican Public Health Association Web SiteSubmissionsSubscriptionsAbout Us
Am J Public Health. 1991 June; 81(6): 694–702.
PMCID: PMC1405148

Asthmatic responses to airborne acid aerosols.


BACKGROUND: Controlled exposure studies suggest that asthmatics may be more sensitive to the respiratory effects of acidic aerosols than individuals without asthma. This study investigates whether acidic aerosols and other air pollutants are associated with respiratory symptoms in free-living asthmatics. METHODS: Daily concentrations of hydrogen ion (H+), nitric acid, fine particulates, sulfates and nitrates were obtained during an intensive air monitoring effort in Denver, Colorado, in the winter of 1987-88. A panel of 207 asthmatics recorded respiratory symptoms, frequency of medication use, and related information in daily diaries. We used a multiple regression time-series model to analyze which air pollutants, if any, were associated with health outcomes reported by study participants. RESULTS: Airborne H+ was found to be significantly associated with several indicators of asthma status, including moderate or severe cough and shortness of breath. Cough was also associated with fine particulates, and shortness of breath with sulfates. Incorporating the participants' time spent outside and exercise intensity into the daily measure of exposure strengthened the association between these pollutants and asthmatic symptoms. Nitric acid and nitrates were not significantly associated with any respiratory symptom analyzed. CONCLUSIONS: In this population of asthmatics, several outdoor air pollutants, particularly airborne acidity, were associated with daily respiratory symptoms.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (4.5M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Thurston GD, Ito K, Lippmann M, Hayes C. Reexamination of London, England, mortality in relation to exposure to acidic aerosols during 1963-1972 winters. Environ Health Perspect. 1989 Feb;79:73–82. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ostro B. A search for a threshold in the relationship of air pollution to mortality: a reanalysis of data on London winters. Environ Health Perspect. 1984 Dec;58:397–399. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bates DV, Sizto R. Air pollution and hospital admissions in Southern Ontario: the acid summer haze effect. Environ Res. 1987 Aug;43(2):317–331. [PubMed]
  • Bates DV, Sizto R. The Ontario Air Pollution Study: identification of the causative agent. Environ Health Perspect. 1989 Feb;79:69–72. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Koenig JQ, Pierson WE, Horike M. The effects of inhaled sulfuric acid on pulmonary function in adolescent asthmatics. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1983 Aug;128(2):221–225. [PubMed]
  • Utell MJ, Morrow PE, Speers DM, Darling J, Hyde RW. Airway responses to sulfate and sulfuric acid aerosols in asthmatics. An exposure-response relationship. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1983 Sep;128(3):444–450. [PubMed]
  • Utell MJ, Morrow PE, Hyde RW. Airway reactivity to sulfate and sulfuric acid aerosols in normal and asthmatic subjects. J Air Pollut Control Assoc. 1984 Sep;34(9):931–935. [PubMed]
  • Utell MJ. Effects of inhaled acid aerosols on lung mechanics: an analysis of human exposure studies. Environ Health Perspect. 1985 Nov;63:39–44. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Whittemore AS, Korn EL. Asthma and air pollution in the Los Angeles area. Am J Public Health. 1980 Jul;70(7):687–696. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Korn EL, Whittemore AS. Methods for analyzing panel studies of acute health effects of air pollution. Biometrics. 1979 Dec;35(4):795–802. [PubMed]
  • Perry GB, Chai H, Dickey DW, Jones RH, Kinsman RA, Morrill CG, Spector SL, Weiser PC. Effects of particulate air pollution on asthmatics. Am J Public Health. 1983 Jan;73(1):50–56. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lippmann M. Airborne acidity: estimates of exposure and human health effects. Environ Health Perspect. 1985 Nov;63:63–70. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sun M. Acid aerosols called health hazard. Science. 1988 Jun 24;240(4860):1727–1727. [PubMed]
  • Dixon SC, Martin RC, Mok MC, Shaw G, Mok DW. Zeatin Glycosylation Enzymes in Phaseolus: Isolation of O-Glucosyltransferase from P. lunatus and Comparison to O-Xylosyltransferase from P. vulgaris. Plant Physiol. 1989 Aug;90(4):1316–1321. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Spengler JD, Keeler GJ, Koutrakis P, Ryan PB, Raizenne M, Franklin CA. Exposures to acidic aerosols. Environ Health Perspect. 1989 Feb;79:43–51. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hazucha MJ. Relationship between ozone exposure and pulmonary function changes. J Appl Physiol (1985) 1987 Apr;62(4):1671–1680. [PubMed]
  • Rosner B, Muñoz A, Tager I, Speizer F, Weiss S. The use of an autoregressive model for the analysis of longitudinal data in epidemiologic studies. Stat Med. 1985 Oct-Dec;4(4):457–467. [PubMed]
  • Kleinman MT, Linn WS, Bailey RM, Anderson KR, Whynot JD, Medway DA, Hackney JD. Human exposure to ferric sulfate aerosol: effects on pulmonary function and respiratory symptoms. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1981 Apr;42(4):298–304. [PubMed]
  • Koenig JQ, Covert DS, Pierson WE. Effects of inhalation of acidic compounds on pulmonary function in allergic adolescent subjects. Environ Health Perspect. 1989 Feb;79:173–178. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hackney JD, Linn WS, Avol EL. Acid fog: effects on respiratory function and symptoms in healthy and asthmatic volunteers. Environ Health Perspect. 1989 Feb;79:159–162. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Zagraniski RT, Leaderer BP, Stolwijk JA. Ambient sulfates, photochemical oxidants, and acute adverse health effects: an epidemiological study. Environ Res. 1979 Aug;19(2):306–320. [PubMed]
  • Sackner MA, Dougherty RD, Chapman GA, Zarzecki S, Zarzemski L, Schreck R. Effects of sodium nitrate aerosol on cardiopulmonary function of dogs, sheep, and man. Environ Res. 1979 Apr;18(2):421–436. [PubMed]
  • Kerr HD, Kulle TJ, McIlhany ML, Swidersky P. Effects of nitrogen dioxide on pulmonary function in human subjects: an environmental chamber study. Environ Res. 1979 Aug;19(2):392–404. [PubMed]
  • Mohsenin V. Airway responses to nitrogen dioxide in asthmatic subjects. J Toxicol Environ Health. 1987;22(4):371–380. [PubMed]
  • Lebowitz MD, Collins L, Holberg CJ. Time series analyses of respiratory responses to indoor and outdoor environmental phenomena. Environ Res. 1987 Aug;43(2):332–341. [PubMed]
  • Holma B. Effects of inhaled acids on airway mucus and its consequences for health. Environ Health Perspect. 1989 Feb;79:109–113. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bethel RA, Sheppard D, Epstein J, Tam E, Nadel JA, Boushey HA. Interaction of sulfur dioxide and dry cold air in causing bronchoconstriction in asthmatic subjects. J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1984 Aug;57(2):419–423. [PubMed]
  • Spektor DM, Lippmann M, Thurston GD, Lioy PJ, Stecko J, O'Connor G, Garshick E, Speizer FE, Hayes C. Effects of ambient ozone on respiratory function in healthy adults exercising outdoors. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1988 Oct;138(4):821–828. [PubMed]

Articles from American Journal of Public Health are provided here courtesy of American Public Health Association


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...