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J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2013;48(14):1783-9. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2013.826052.

Indoor air pollution and respiratory health in the elderly.

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Institut National de la Sant´e et Recherche M´edicale, Universit´e Pierre et Marie Curie (UMR), EPAR, Paris, France.


Data on respiratory effects of indoor air pollution in elderly are scanty. The purpose of this review is to summarize current knowledge on adverse respiratory effects of indoor air pollution in individuals aged over 65 years, by presenting existing epidemiological evidence. Using MEDLINE database through PubMed, we identified relevant publications published between 1991 and 2011 in English on respiratory health effects of indoor air pollution in elderly (>65 years). A total of 61 studies were found and after application of the inclusion criteria: (i) epidemiologic studies published in English in peer-reviewed journals between January 1991 and December 2011, (ii) study population with age over or equal 65 years, and (iii) outcome of respiratory symptoms and disease with the exclusion of lung cancer, 33 relevant publications were selected. Most of them showed significant relationships between exposure to major indoor air pollutants and various short-term and long-term respiratory health outcomes such as wheezing, breathlessness, cough, phlegm, asthma, COPD, lung cancer and more rarely lung function decline. The most consistent relationship is found between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Further studies in the elderly population are needed in order to define causal relationships between exposures to indoor air pollution and underlying mechanisms in this sub-population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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