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Environ Pollut. 2008 Jan;151(2):362-7. Epub 2007 Jul 23.

Human health effects of air pollution.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Experimental Endocrinology, University of Crete, School of Medicine, Heraklion, Greece. kampa@med.uoc.gr

Abstract

Hazardous chemicals escape to the environment by a number of natural and/or anthropogenic activities and may cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. Increased combustion of fossil fuels in the last century is responsible for the progressive change in the atmospheric composition. Air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO(2)), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone (O(3)), heavy metals, and respirable particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), differ in their chemical composition, reaction properties, emission, time of disintegration and ability to diffuse in long or short distances. Air pollution has both acute and chronic effects on human health, affecting a number of different systems and organs. It ranges from minor upper respiratory irritation to chronic respiratory and heart disease, lung cancer, acute respiratory infections in children and chronic bronchitis in adults, aggravating pre-existing heart and lung disease, or asthmatic attacks. In addition, short- and long-term exposures have also been linked with premature mortality and reduced life expectancy. These effects of air pollutants on human health and their mechanism of action are briefly discussed.

PMID:
17646040
DOI:
10.1016/j.envpol.2007.06.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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