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FP Essent. 2013 Jun;409:32-42.

Common lung conditions: environmental pollutants and lung disease.

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University of Kansas School of Medicine, 3901 Rainbow Blvd Mailstop 4010, Kansas City, KS 66160,


Exposure to environmental pollutants can have short- and long-term effects on lung health. Sources of air pollution include gases (eg, carbon monoxide, ozone) and particulate matter (eg, soot, dust). In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates air pollution. Elevated ozone concentrations are associated with increases in lung-related hospitalizations and mortality. Elevated particulate matter pollution increases the risk of cardiopulmonary and lung cancer mortality. Occupations with high exposures to pollutants (eg, heavy construction work, truck driving, auto mechanics) pose higher risk of chronic obstructive lung disease. Some industrial settings (eg, agriculture, sawmills, meat packing plants) also are associated with higher risks from pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency issues an air quality index for cities and regions in the United States. The upper levels on the index are associated with increases in asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Damp and moldy housing might make asthma symptoms worse; individuals from lower socioeconomic groups who live in lower quality housing are particularly at risk. Other household exposures that can have negative effects on lung health include radon, nanoparticles, and biomass fuels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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