Air pollution and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Respirology. 2012 Apr;17(3):395-401. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.02112.x.


Limited data suggest that outdoor air pollution (such as ambient air pollution or traffic-related air pollution) and indoor air pollution (such as second-hand smoking and biomass fuel combustion exposure) are associated with the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but there is insufficient evidence to prove a causal relationship at this stage. It also appears that outdoor air pollution is a significant environmental trigger for acute exacerbation of COPD, leading to increasing symptoms, emergency department visits, hospital admissions and even mortality. Improving ambient air pollution and decreasing indoor biomass combustion exposure by improving home ventilation are effective measures that may substantially improve the health of the general public.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology