A survey of effects of gaseous and aerosol pollutants on pulmonary function of normal males

Arch Environ Health. Mar-Apr 1983;38(2):104-15. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1983.10543989.


A total of 231 normal male human subjects were exposed for 4 hr to air, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, or sulfur dioxide; to sulfuric acid, ammonium bisulfate, ammonium sulfate, or ammonium nitrate aerosols; or to mixtures of these gaseous and aerosol pollutants. Only one concentration of each pollutant was used. This study, therefore, represents a preliminary survey, intended to allow direct comparison of studies to plan future research. During exposure each subject had two 15-min exercise sessions on a treadmill at 4 mph and 10% grade. Environmental conditions were mildly stressful, i.e., temperature = 30 degrees C and relative humidity = 60%. A battery of 19 measurements of pulmonary function was performed just prior to exposure (air control); 2 hr into the exposure, following the first exercise session; 4 hr into the exposure, following the second exercise session; and 24 hr after exposure. Significant differences were noted in specific airway resistance (SRAW), forced vital capacity (FVC), and forced expiratory flow at 50% of FVC (FEF50) and in related measurements in those experimental groups exposed to ozone or to ozone plus aerosols. None of the aerosols alone, nitrogen dioxide or sulfur dioxide alone, or mixtures of nitrogen dioxide or sulfur dioxide with aerosols produced significant effects. A distribution analysis of subject responsivity to ozone gave a normal distribution among subjects not exposed to ozone, and a distribution shifted to the right and skewed to the right among those exposed to ozone alone or in mixture, with no evidence of bimodal distribution of ozone sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants / poisoning*
  • Ammonium Sulfate / poisoning
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Nitrates / poisoning
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / poisoning
  • Ozone / poisoning
  • Respiratory Function Tests*
  • Sulfur Dioxide / poisoning
  • Sulfuric Acids / poisoning


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants
  • Nitrates
  • Sulfuric Acids
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • ammonium bisulfate
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Ammonium Sulfate
  • ammonium nitrate