Air pollution and health

Lancet. 2002 Oct 19;360(9341):1233-42. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(02)11274-8.


The health effects of air pollution have been subject to intense study in recent years. Exposure to pollutants such as airborne particulate matter and ozone has been associated with increases in mortality and hospital admissions due to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. These effects have been found in short-term studies, which relate day-to-day variations in air pollution and health, and long-term studies, which have followed cohorts of exposed individuals over time. Effects have been seen at very low levels of exposure, and it is unclear whether a threshold concentration exists for particulate matter and ozone below which no effects on health are likely. In this review, we discuss the evidence for adverse effects on health of selected air pollutants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Environmental Monitoring / standards*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Oxidants, Photochemical / adverse effects
  • Ozone / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced
  • Risk Factors
  • Sulfur Dioxide / adverse effects
  • United States
  • World Health Organization


  • Air Pollutants
  • Oxidants, Photochemical
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide