In China, where air pollution has become a major threat to public health, public awareness of the detrimental effects of air pollution on respiratory health is increasing-particularly in relation to haze days. Air pollutant emission levels in China remain substantially higher than are those in developed countries. Moreover, industry, traffic, and household biomass combustion have become major sources of air pollutant emissions, with substantial spatial and temporal variations. In this Review, we focus on the major constituents of air pollutants and their impacts on chronic respiratory diseases. We highlight targets for interventions and recommendations for pollution reduction through industrial upgrading, vehicle and fuel renovation, improvements in public transportation, lowering of personal exposure, mitigation of the direct effects of air pollution through healthy city development, intervention at population-based level (systematic health education, intensive and individualised intervention, pre-emptive measures, and rehabilitation), and improvement in air quality. The implementation of a national environmental protection policy has become urgent.
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