Healthy women's PEF variations with ambient summer concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, SO42-, H+, and O3

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Jul;160(1):117-25. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.160.1.9808153.


The relationship between ambient air pollution and daily change in peak expiratory flow (PEF) was studied in a sample of 473 nonsmoking women (age 19 to 43 yr) in Virginia over summers 1995- 1996. Daily 24-h averages of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), fine particulate sulfate (SO42-) and strong acid (H+), hourly ozone (O3), and select meteorologic variables (e.g., temperature) were collected at a regional outdoor monitoring site. Subjects took PEF measurements twice daily for a 2-wk period using a standard MiniWright peak flow meter. Concurrent measures for summer periods of 24-h PM2.5 (micrograms/m3) ranged from 3.5 to 59.7; H+ (nmol/m3) from 0 to 250; maximal daily 8-h average O3 (ppb) from 17.0 to 87.6. Morning PEF decrements were significantly associated with H+ and PM2. 5. An increase of 50 etamol/m3 of H+ and 10 micrograms/m3 of PM2.5 related to decreases of 0.89 (95% CI = 0.21 to 1.57) and 0.73 (95% CI = 0.07 to 1.38) L/min in morning PEF, respectively. Ozone was the only exposure related to evening PEF with 5-d cumulative lag exposure showing the greatest effect; 7.65 L/ min (95% CI = 2.25 to 13.0) decrease per 30 ppb O3 increase. Separate physiologic effects were observed for summer ambient concentrations of two different pollutants (PEF decrements related to PM2.5 in morning and O3 in evening) at concentrations below the new U.S. EPA 24-h ambient air quality standard for PM2.5 and 8-h standard for O3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / pharmacology*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ozone / pharmacology
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate / drug effects*
  • Reference Values
  • Seasons*
  • Sulfates / pharmacology
  • Virginia


  • Air Pollutants
  • Sulfates
  • Ozone