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, 16 (1), 60

Short-term Air Pollution Exposure Decreases Lung Function: A Repeated Measures Study in Healthy Adults


Short-term Air Pollution Exposure Decreases Lung Function: A Repeated Measures Study in Healthy Adults

Luc Int Panis et al. Environ Health.


Background: Daily changes in ambient concentrations of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and ozone are associated with increased cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality, with the lungs and their function being a vulnerable target.

Methods: To evaluate the association between daily changes in air pollution and lung function in healthy adults we obtained annual lung function measurements from a routine worker health surveillance program not designed for research purposes. Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), Forced Expiratory Volume in the first second (FEV1), FEV1/FVC and Peak Expiratory flow (PEF) from a cohort of 2449 employees were associated with daily measurements of PM10, NO2 and ozone at a nearby monitoring station in the North of Belgium. Repeated measures were available for the period 2011-2015.

Results: The mean (SD) PM10 concentration on the day of the lung function test was 24.9 (15.5) μg/m3. A 10 μg PM10/m3 increase on the day of the clinical examination was associated with a 18.9 ml lower FVC (95% CI: -27.5 to -10.3, p < 0.0001), 12.8 ml lower FEV1 (-19.1 to -6.5; p < 0.0001), and a 51.4 ml/s lower PEF (-75.0 to -27.0; p < 0.0001). The FEV1/FVC-ratio showed no associations. An increase of 10 μgNO2/m3 was associated with a reduction in PEF (-66.1 ml/s (-106.6 to -25.6; p < 0.001)) on the day of the examination.

Conclusions: We found negative associations between daily variations in ambient air pollution and FVC, FEV1 and PEF in healthy adults.

Keywords: Air pollution; FEV1; Fvc; Ozone; PM10; Particulate matter; Pef; Respiratory health; Spirometry.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Sensitivity analyses of the association between exposure to particulate matter with diameter < 10 μm (PM10) the day before the clinical visit (lag 1) and Forced Vital Capacity (FVC)

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