Analysing the causes of chronic cough: relation to diesel exhaust, ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and other environmental factors

J Occup Med Toxicol. 2006 May 18;1:6. doi: 10.1186/1745-6673-1-6.


Air pollution remains a leading cause of many respiratory diseases including chronic cough. Although episodes of incidental, dramatic air pollution are relatively rare, current levels of exposure of pollutants in industrialized and developing countries such as total articles, diesel exhaust particles and common cigarette smoke may be responsible for the development of chronic cough both in children and adults. The present study analyses the effects of common environmental factors as potential causes of chronic cough. Different PubMed-based researches were performed that related the term cough to various environmental factors. There is some evidence that chronic inhalation of diesel can lead to the development of cough. For long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), children were found to exhibit increased incidences of chronic cough and decreased lung function parameters. Although a number of studies did not show that outdoor pollution directly causes the development of asthma, they have demonstrated that high levels pollutants and their interaction with sunlight produce ozone (O3) and that repeated exposure to it can lead to chronic cough. In summary, next to the well-known air pollutants which also include particulate matter and sulphur dioxide, a number of other indoor and outdoor pollutants have been demonstrated to cause chronic cough and therefore, environmental factors have to be taken into account as potential initiators of both adult and pediatric chronic cough.