Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Med Sci. 2009 Oct;338(4):273-9. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e3181adb3ed.

Environmental air pollution has decremental effects on pulmonary function test parameters up to one week after exposure.

Author information

Departments of Internal Medicine D and E, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.



Recent exposure to air pollution has a decremental effect on pulmonary function. This short-term effect has only been studied for up to a few days postexposure. Our objective was to analyze the effect of air pollution on spirometric parameters in varying lag times of up to 1 week from the time of exposure.


Healthy subjects, never smokers, who were participants in the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Inflammation Survey held between 2002 and 2007, were included if residing within an 11-km range to the nearest air pollution monitoring station. Linear regression models were applied to each lung function variable [first second of exhalation (FEV(1)), forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV(1)/FVC] against air pollutant variables (particulate matter under 10 microns in diameter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ozone) for increasing lag periods of up to 7 days, and they were adjusted for possible confounders that affect air pollution and spirometric measurements.


The study population comprised 2380 individuals. We found a statistically significant negative correlation between air pollutants, mainly SO(2), and between FEV(1) and FVC. This effect was significant from days 3 to 6, with a maximal effect noted for the fifth day and for the 7-day average before pulmonary function measurement. No significant change was found for FEV(1)/FVC ratio.


Air pollution has a decremental effect on lung function parameters for up to 6 days after exposure in healthy adults. SO(2) emerged as the most significant air pollutant affecting short-term lung function parameters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center