The UCLA population studies of chronic obstructive respiratory disease. IV. Respiratory effect of long-term exposure to photochemical oxidants, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfates on current and never smokers

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1981 Dec;124(6):673-80. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1981.124.6.673.


Questionnaires, spirometry, and the single-breath nitrogen test were administered to 3,192 participants 25 to 39 yr of age in area exposed to low concentrations of all pollutants (Lancaster, California) and to 2,369 similar participants living in an area exposed to high concentrations of photochemical oxidants, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfates (Glendora, California). The prevalence of symptoms and results in the majority of the tests were worse in the polluted area between current and never smokers and men and women. Those tests associated primarily with small airways (Vmax50, Vmax75, delta N 2(750-1250) showed little or no difference between areas. The difference in the prevalence of participants with a poor FEV1 and/or poor FEV1 and/or poor FVC and in the mean Vmax and closing volume was greater between areas than between smoking categories. These results suggest that long-term exposure to high concentrations of photochemical oxidants, NO2, and sulfates at place of residence may result in measurable impairment in both current smokers and never smokers. Firmer documentation of this effect will require following these populations for changes in lung function that correlate with pollutant exposures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / adverse effects*
  • Oxidants, Photochemical / adverse effects*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Smoking*
  • Spirometry
  • Sulfates / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors


  • Air Pollutants
  • Oxidants, Photochemical
  • Sulfates
  • Nitrogen Dioxide