Global Health Impacts of Dust Storms: A Systematic Review

Environ Health Insights. 2021 May 24:15:11786302211018390. doi: 10.1177/11786302211018390. eCollection 2021.


Background: Dust storms and their impacts on health are becoming a major public health issue. The current study examines the health impacts of dust storms around the world to provide an overview of this issue.

Method: In this systematic review, 140 relevant and authoritative English articles on the impacts of dust storms on health (up to September 2019) were identified and extracted from 28 968 articles using valid keywords from various databases (PubMed, WOS, EMBASE, and Scopus) and multiple screening steps. Selected papers were then qualitatively examined and evaluated. Evaluation results were summarized using an Extraction Table.

Results: The results of the study are divided into two parts: short and long-term impacts of dust storms. Short-term impacts include mortality, visitation, emergency medical dispatch, hospitalization, increased symptoms, and decreased pulmonary function. Long-term impacts include pregnancy, cognitive difficulties, and birth problems. Additionally, this study shows that dust storms have devastating impacts on health, affecting cardiovascular and respiratory health in particular.

Conclusion: The findings of this study show that dust storms have significant public health impacts. More attention should be paid to these natural hazards to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate these hazardous events to reduce their negative health impacts.Registration: PROSPERO registration number CRD42018093325.

Keywords: Air quality; PM10; desert dust; dust storm; health.

Publication types

  • Review