Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Diseases: A Review by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies’ Environmental Committee, Part 1: The Damaging Effects of Air Pollution

Dean E. Schraufnagel, John R. Balmes, Clayton T. Cowl, Sara De Matteis, Soon Hee Jung, Kevin Mortimer, Rogelio Perez-Padilla, Mary B. Rice, Horacio Riojas-Rodriguez, Akshay Sood, George D. Thurston, Teresa To, Anessa Vanker, Donald J. Wuebbles

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Air pollution poses a great environmental risk to health. Outdoor fine particulate matter (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 μm) exposure is the fifth leading risk factor for death in the world, accounting for 4.2 million deaths and > 103 million disability-adjusted life years lost according to the Global Burden of Disease Report. The World Health Organization attributes 3.8 million additional deaths to indoor air pollution. Air pollution can harm acutely, usually manifested by respiratory or cardiac symptoms, as well as chronically, potentially affecting every organ in the body. It can cause, complicate, or exacerbate many adverse health conditions. Tissue damage may result directly from pollutant toxicity because fine and ultrafine particles can gain access to organs, or indirectly through systemic inflammatory processes. Susceptibility is partly under genetic and epigenetic regulation. Although air pollution affects people of all regions, ages, and social groups, it is likely to cause greater illness in those with heavy exposure and greater susceptibility. Persons are more vulnerable to air pollution if they have other illnesses or less social support. Harmful effects occur on a continuum of dosage and even at levels below air quality standards previously considered to be safe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalChest
Volume155
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • air pollution
  • mechanism of damage
  • noncommunicable diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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  • Cite this

    Schraufnagel, D. E., Balmes, J. R., Cowl, C. T., De Matteis, S., Jung, S. H., Mortimer, K., Perez-Padilla, R., Rice, M. B., Riojas-Rodriguez, H., Sood, A., Thurston, G. D., To, T., Vanker, A., & Wuebbles, D. J. (2019). Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Diseases: A Review by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies’ Environmental Committee, Part 1: The Damaging Effects of Air Pollution. Chest, 155(2), 409-416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2018.10.042