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Open Medicine

formerly Central European Journal of Medicine

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Wheezing and lung function measured in subjects exposed to various levels of fine particles and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

1Chair of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Coll. Med. Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Krakow, Poland

2Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health Mailman School Public Health, Columbia University, NY, USA

3Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA

4Department of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, USA

© 2007 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Open Medicine. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 66–78, ISSN (Online) 2391-5463, DOI: 10.2478/s11536-006-0043-6, March 2007

Publication History

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The main purpose of the study was to assess the occurrence of wheezing and lung function in non-smoking women exposed to various levels of fine particulate matter(FP) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Out of the total study group, 152 women were included in the lower exposed group (PM2.5 ≤34.3μg/m3 or PAHs ≤ 22.9ng/ m3) and 96 persons in higher concentrations of both air pollutants (PM2.5>34.3μg/m3 and PAHs > 22.9ng/ m3). Except for FVC and FEV1, all lung forced ventilatory flows (PEFR, FEF25% FEF50%, FEF75%, FEF25−75%) were significantly lower in the higher exposed group. The findings suggest bronchoconstriction within the respiratory tract, which may be related to the exposure under study. This was consistent with a higher prevalence of wheezing in more exposed subjects. It was shown that higher levels of both pollutants increased the risk of wheezing by factor 5.6 (95% CI: 1.77–17.8) after accounting for potential confounders such as allergic diseases and exposure to ETS. This study suggests that pollutants in question may have the capacity to promote broncho-constriction and asthmatic symptoms, possibly by bronchial inflammation resulting from the exposure.

Keywords: Personal exposure; fine particles; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; lung function; wheezing

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