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Part Fibre Toxicol. 2012 Apr 30;9:12. doi: 10.1186/1743-8977-9-12.

Effects of wood smoke particles from wood-burning stoves on the respiratory health of atopic humans.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Section for Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is growing evidence that particulate air pollution derived from wood stoves causes acute inflammation in the respiratory system, increases the incidence of asthma and other allergic diseases, and increases respiratory morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to evaluate acute respiratory effects from short-term wood smoke exposure in humans. Twenty non-smoking atopic volunteers with normal lung function and without bronchial responsiveness were monitored during three different experimental exposure sessions, aiming at particle concentrations of about 200 μg/m(3), 400 μg/m(3), and clean air as control exposure. A balanced cross-over design was used and participants were randomly allocated to exposure orders. Particles were generated in a wood-burning facility and added to a full-scale climate chamber where the participants were exposed for 3 hours under controlled environmental conditions. Health effects were evaluated in relation to: peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), and forced vital capacity (FVC). Furthermore, the effects were assessed in relation to changes in nasal patency and from markers of airway inflammation: fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), exhaled breath condensate (EBC) and nasal lavage (NAL) samples were collected before, and at various intervals after exposure.

RESULTS:

No statistically significant effect of wood smoke exposure was found for lung function, for FENO, for NAL or for the nasal patency. Limited signs of airway inflammation were found in EBC.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, short term exposure with wood smoke at a concentration normally found in a residential area with a high density of burning wood stoves causes only mild inflammatory response.

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