Impact of air pollution on prevalence of rhinitis in Istanbul

Arch Environ Health. 1999 Jan-Feb;54(1):48-51. doi: 10.1080/00039899909602236.


The effects of air pollution on health are of concern worldwide. There are several pollutants of concern, among which are sulfur dioxide, total suspended particulates, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic chemicals. In several studies, researchers investigated the effects of those pollutants on lung and nasal functions, although in very few studies has nasal function been addressed. We evaluated the effects of air pollution on the prevalence of rhinitis in a metropolitan of Turkey, Istanbul. Until 1994, coal was used for both domestic heating and industrial processes in the city. Consequently, sulfur dioxide and total suspended particulate concentrations in the ambient air exceeded limits of air-quality standards. In recent years, especially during the early 1990s, hazardous air pollution levels were reached in Istanbul. In this study, we evaluated the incidence of rhinitis before and after installation of a natural-gas network in a polluted area of the city. In 1994, 62.5% of the individuals studied suffered from rhinitis, compared with 51% of the sample in 1996 (p < .05). Age, gender, smoking status, heating source, nor household crowding significantly affected this outcome. The findings strengthened the role of pollutant levels as risk factors for rhinitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution / prevention & control
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • City Planning
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Heating
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis / etiology
  • Rhinitis / prevention & control
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*


  • Fossil Fuels