Adverse effects of outdoor air pollution
Despite tighter regulation in recent years, epidemiologic studies continue to show associations between adverse health effects and outdoor air pollution. These adverse effects occur at levels of pollutants much lower than those encountered in earlier air pollution disasters, and in some studies at concentrations near or below the national standards. Although the relative risk tends to be low, the population attributable risk is significant because of the large number of people exposed to air pollutants. Exposure to outdoor air pollution is associated with numerous effects on human health. These adverse health effects primarily are those related to respiratory system, such as increases in hospital admissions, decline in lung function, exacerbation of asthma, and increase in respiratory infection. Some air pollutants, especially particulate matter, are also associated with extrapulmonary adverse effects, especially in the cardiovascular system. The cardiopulmonary effects likely contribute to the increased mortality associated with exposure to air pollutants. Although healthy individuals may be affected, certain subsets of the population, especially those with cardiopulmonary diseases, the elderly, and children, are most susceptible. This review article discusses and updates the health effects associated with 5 major criteria air pollutants: ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxides, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. The potential health effects of 2 noncriteria air pollutants, toxic air pollutants and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are also discussed briefly. Copyright © 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Huang, YCT; Al-Hegelan, M
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