Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Impact of Traffic-Related Air Pollution on the Lungs

Beijing smog as seen from the China World Hote...
Beijing smog as seen from the China World Hotel, March 2003, during the SARS outbreak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Air pollution exposure and lung function in highly exposed subjects in Beijing, China: a repeated-measure study    (10 page pdf, Andrea A Baccarelli, Yinan Zheng, Xiao Zhang, Dou Chang, Lei Liu, Katherine Rose Wolf, Zhou Zhang, John P McCracken, Anaité Díaz, Pier Alberto Bertazzi, Joel Schwartz1, Sheng Wang, Choong-Min Kang, Petros Koutrakis and Lifang Hou, Particle and Fibre Toxicology, Oct. 2, 2014)

Today we review research based on measurements of various pollutants in Beijing, largely from vehicle emissions, and the extent to which these pollutants have an impact on lung function. Results indicate a clear link and the authors recommend ways to reduce exposure in this city as well as in other large cities with high pollution levels world-wide.

Key Quotes:

“In this study of truck drivers and office workers in Beijing, China, we evaluated the effects of traffic-related PM2.5 and elemental components, including elemental carbon (EC), potassium (K), sulfur (S), Fe, Si, Al, Zn, Ca, and titanium (Ti) on lung function.”

“Average personal PM2.5 was 94.59 μg/m3 for office workers and 126.83 μg/m3 for truck drivers.”

“By measuring EC, a tracer of traffic particles, as well as by evaluating a group, i.e., truck drivers with direct exposure to traffic, we had the opportunity to distinguish the effects of traffic pollution from those of the general levels of ambient PM2.5 in Beijing.”

“our investigation provides evidence that exposure to elemental components of PM2.5, such as Si, Al, Ca, and Ti, is associated with reduced lung function.”

“Our results further support the urgent implementation of exposure reduction measures in the Beijing metropolitan area as well as in areas with similarly high levels of potentially toxic components worldwide.”


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