ChapterPDF Available

EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION ON HUMAN HEALTH

Authors:

Abstract

Air pollution is a contamination of atmosphere by gaseous, particulate and biological molecules or by-products which can be harmful for human health and the environment. Rising issue of air pollution is an utmost concern of the world. Among various emission sources, motor vehicles and industrial processes contribute to the major portion of air pollution. Much of the work on air pollution in the few decades has centred on a small set of six pollutants, called criteria pollutants, that have been recognized as contributors to sulphurous and photochemical smog. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), USEPA has set national air quality standards for six criteria pollutants: ground level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and lead. Short and long term exposure to suspended pollutants has various toxicological impacts on humans including respiratory, cardiovascular diseases, neuropsychiatric complications, skin diseases, eyes irritation, and long term chronic diseases such as cancer. Several earlier studies established the direct association between exposure to the poor air quality which results into increased rate of morbidity and mortality mostly due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Air pollution is deliberated as the major environmental factor in the progression of some diseases such as asthma, ventricular hypertrophy, lung cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, psychological complications, autism, retinopathy and low fetal growth.
135
EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION ON
HUMAN HEALTH
Meera Goswami*, Dalip K. Mansotra, Shivalika Sharma,
Gaurav Pant and P. C. Joshi
Department of Zoology and Environmental Science,
Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar-249404, Uttarakhand,
India
Email: dalipmansotra@gmail.com, rs.meeragowswami@gkv.ac.in
ABSTRACT
Air pollution is a contamination of atmosphere by gaseous, particulate
and biological molecules or by-products wh ich can be harmful for
human health and the environment. Rising issue of air pollution is an
utmost concern of the world. Among various emission sources, motor
vehicles and industrial processes contribute to the major portion of air
pollution. Much of the work on air pollution in the few decades has
centred on a small set of six pollutants, called criteria pollutants, th at
have been recognized as contributors to sulphurous and photochemical
smog. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), USEPA has set national
air quality standards for six criteria pollutants: groun d level ozone,
carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter
and lead. Short and long term exposure to suspended pollutants has
var iou s toxicological impac ts on hum an s inclu ding resp iratory,
cardiovascular diseases, neuropsychiatric complications, skin diseases,
eyes irritation, and long term chronic diseases such as cancer. Several
earlier studies established the direct association between exposure to
the poor air quality which results into increased rate of morbidity and
mortality mostly due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Air
pollut ion is deliberat ed as the ma jor environmental factor in the
progression of some diseases such as asthma, ventricular hypertrophy,
lung cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, psychologic al
complications, autism, retinopathy and low fetal growth.
KE YWOR DS: A ir pollu tion , Hum an he alth, E nviron me n t,
Cardiovascular diseases, Respiratory tract diseases, Toxicology.
Researches in Toxicology and Pollution (2019) : 135-144
Editor : Prof. P.C. Joshi, Namita Joshi, B.N. Pandey and Suday Prasad
Today & Tomorrow’s Printers and Publishers, New Delhi - 110 002
136
INTRODUCTION
Air Pollution is considered to be the worlds largest environmental
health threat accounting for 4.2 million deaths every year, as a result of
exposure of ambient air pollution (Outdoor Pollution). 3.8 million deaths
every year as a result of exposure to smoke from fuels and cooking stoves
(Indoor Pollution). The mutual impacts of household and ambient air pollution
causes around 7 million premature deaths every year, mainly as an outcome
of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic
pulmonary disease, and acute respiratory infections. Air Pollution seems as
a current-age curse: a by-product of growing anthropogenic activities as
urbanisation and industrialisation though many physical events (volcanoes,
fire, Lightning etc.) may release different chemicals in environment. Around
91% of world population lives in an area where air quality limit exceeds
above the WHO guidelines limit. As Air Pollution is not a new phenomenon,
it has a long and evolving history. In most recent times, two alarming episodes
were occurred- In US, the episode occurred during 4 day period in 1948 in
Donora, Pennsylvania, where around 6,000 illness and 20 deaths were linked
to Air Pollution, other most worst episode occurred for a week in London,
in 1952, causes more than 4000 deaths. Air pollution is a contamination of
atmosphere by gaseous, particulate and biological particles or derivatives
which can threaten human health as well as other life forms prevailing on
earth.
AIR POLLUTANTS
Classification and Categories: On the basis of concentration of chemicals
present in environment, air pollutants can be defined. The composition of
clean air is used as a bench mark, if the concentration of chemicals is
above the concentration of chemicals present in air, it is then characterized
as an air pollutant. The Pollutants are classified as Primary and Secondary
pollutants. The primary pollutants persist in an unchanged chemical form
as they are released from a source directly into the atmosphere whereas
secondary pollutants are an outcome of chemical reactions among two or
more pollutants.
Many Air pollutants have some similarities so, they can be grouped
into four categories:
1. Gaseous Pollutants: Nitrogen oxides (NOX), Carbon monoxide
(CO), Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Ozone (O3), Benzene, Volatile organic
compounds (VOC’S) are some of the gaseous pollutants. They
are primarily due to the combustion of fossil fuels. They contribute
137
to a greater magnitude in changing the composition of the
atmosphere. Majority of Gaseous pollutants affect the respiratory
system and can also induce haematological problems and cancer.
2. Persistent organic pollutants: Persis tent organic pollutants
(POPs) are the organic compounds which are resilient to ecological
degradation over biological, hydrolytic, chemical, and photolytic
processes. POPs persist in environment for an extensive period of
time, and their impressions on human and environmental health are
magnified as the y move up thr ough the food chain (bio-
magn ification). Some POPs are Dioxins, Fur a ns,
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), Polychlorinated biphenyl
(PCB), Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), Chlordane, Aldrin etc. POP’s
are commonly called as Dirty dozen.
3. Heavy metals: The term “Heavy metals” appertain to the metallic
element which has a proportionally large density greater than 4 g/
cm3 and are poisoned or toxic even at very minute concentrations
However, as trace elements, they are essential to maintain the
metabolic reactions. They are dangerous for human health as they
bioaccumulative in nature; some heavy metals are lead, mercury,
cadmium, silver, nickel, vanadium, chromium, manganese etc.
4. Particulate matter: Particulate matter (PM) is a common term
used for a type of air pollutants, consisting of varying mixture of
particles suspended in breathing air, which va ry in size and
composition, and are produced by a wide variety of natural and
anthropogenic activities.
According to size distribution two types of aerosols have major
concern as air pollutants.
PM2.5 (Aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 µm)
PM10 (Aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 µm)
Air Quality Index: Government assistances uses the air quality index to
convey to the public that how polluted the air is at present or how polluted
it can become further. Rise in AQI causes the health threat to common
public. Different countries have their own air quality indices, similar to
different national air quality standards (NAAQs). The National Air Quality
Index (AQI) proposed in New Delhi on 17 September 2014 under the
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and is outlined as One Number-One Colour-
One Description’. There are 6 AQI categories, that are Good, Satisfactory,
138
Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. The Proposed AQI will
consider 8 pollutants (PM2.5, PM10 , SO2, NO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for
which short term (upto 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air
Quality Standards are prescribed.
Table1. Air Quality Index (AQI) Categories, Ranges and their Health Impacts
AQI Air Pollution Level Health Implica tions
0-50 Good Minimal Impact
51-100 Satisf actory Slight breathing discomfort to sensitive people
101-200 Moderately polluted Sensitive groups of people may experience
breathing discomfort.
201-300 Poor may cause breathing discomfort to people on
prolon ged ex po su re, and disc om fort to
persons with heart disease
301-400 Very Poor Health cautions of emergen cy conditions,
caus es respiratory illness to the people on
prolonged exposure.
401-500 Severe Health ale rt : resp iratory imp act eve n on
healthy people and serious health impacts on
people with lung disease.
Source: www.cpcb.nic.in
From past few decades, much of the work on air pollution has centred on a
small set of 6 pollutants, called criteria pollutants, that have been identified
as contributors to sulphurous and photochemical smog. EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency), USEPA has set national air quality standards for 6
criteria pollutants: ground level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide,
sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and lead.
Table 2. National Ambient Air Qu ality Standards
Pollutants Time Concentration in Ambient Air
Weighted
Average Industrial, Ecolog ically
Residen tial, Sensitive Area
Rural and (notified by
Other Areas Cen tral
Govern ment)
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) (µg/m3) Annual* 50 20
24 hours** 80 80
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (µg/m3) Annu al* 40 30
139
24 hours** 80 80
PM10
3) Annual* 60 60
24 hours** 100 100
PM2 .5
3) Annual* 40 40
24 hours** 60 60
Ozone (O3) (µg/m3) 8 hours* 100 100
1 hour** 180 180
Lead (Pb) (µg/m3) Annual* 0.50 0.50
24 hours** 1.0 1.0
Carbon monoxide (CO) (mg/m3) 8 hours* 02 02
1 hour** 04 04
Ammonia (NH3) (µg/m3) Annual* 100 100
24 hours** 400 400
Benzene (C6H6) (µg/m3) Annual* 5 5
Benzo(a)Pyrene (BaP) (ng/m3) Annu al* 1 1
Arsenic(As), ng/m3Annu al* 6 60
Nickel (Ni), ng/m3Annual* 20 20
Source: N ational Ambient Air Quality Standards, Central Pollution Control Board
notification in the Gazette of India. Extraordinary, New Delhi, 18th November, 2009.
Criteria Pollutants: Health impacts
The inhaled air pollutants have severe effects on human health
disturbing lungs and respiratory system; they are also taken up through the
blood and pumped all-round the body.
1. Nitrogen dioxide: The major sources of anthropogenic emissions
of NO2
engines in vehicles and ships). The most important role of NOx is in
the formation of secondary pollutant like PAN (peroxy acetyl nitrate),
Tropospheric Ozone and Acetaldehyde. When NOx and volatile
organic compounds reacts in present of sunlight, they form
photochemical smog, a significant form of air pollution. Long span
exposure of NO2 causes bronchitis, reduced lung functions.
2. Sulphur dioxide: Sulphur dioxide has a sharp odour and is a
colourless gas. About 99% of sulphur dioxide in air arises from
140
anthropogenic source, and a very little quantity is released naturally
by volcanic activity. The leading anthropogenic source of SO2
the burning of sulfur-containing fossil fuels for domestic heating,
motor vehicles and power generation. The eventual outcome of all
sulphur in atmosphere is to be oxidized into sulphate ion. Enormous
concentration of sulfate aerosols in atmosphere causes global
dimming (Gradual decline in amount of global direct radiation). High
concentration of sulphur oxides reacts with fog (liquid aerosols)
resulted into Sulfurous smog, which causes severe consequence to
human beings. When SO2
acid; this is the foremost constituent of acid rain which is a reason
of deforestation. SO2
of the lungs, and causes irritation of the eyes, aggravation of asthma
and chronic bronchitis and makes people more prone to infections
of the respiratory tract. Hospital admissions for cardiac disease
and mortality increase on days with higher SO2
3. Ground level Ozone: Ground level Ozone or tropospheric ozone
is only 10 % of whole amount of ozone present in vertical column
in atmosphere however, this relatively small amount of tropospheric
ozone has great importance in the formation of photochemical smog,
formed by the reaction of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx)
and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight
(photochemical reaction), As a result, the highest levels of ozone
pollution occur during periods of sunny weather. Ozone is a potent
oxidizing agent readily reacting with other chemical compounds to
make sever a l possib le toxic oxides. The greenhouse gas ,
Tropospheric ozone initiates the chemical elimination of methane
and other hydrocarbon from the atmosphere. Extreme ozone in the
air has a manifest outcome on human health and causes breathing
difficulties, elicit asthma, decrease lung functions, and lower our
resistance to colds and pneumonia.
4. Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless ,
odourless, tasteless, toxic air pollutant. The natural source is volcanic
actions and anthropogenic source is incomplete combustion of
carbon- containing fuels. CO has an indirect radiative effect by
elevating concentrations of methane and tropospheric ozone (O3).
The dominating sink of CO is reaction with OH radical. Around
80% CO is sinking by reacting with OH in the troposphere.
Breathing high concentration of CO (carbon monoxide) leads to
react with haemoglobin due to its more affinity towards haemoglobin
141
than oxygen (O2) which leads to formation of Carboxyhemoglobin
(COHb). The binding of CO with other haeme proteins causes
changes in the function of the affected organs such as the brain
and the cardiovascular system, and also the developing foetus. It
can weaken our concentration, slow our reflexes.
5. Lead: Pb is a toxic heavy metal that is widely used in different
industries. Both indoor and outdoor sources may result into Pb
pollution. It is emitted from motor engines, particularly with those
using petrol containing Pb tetraethyl, smelters and battery plants,
as well as irrigation water wells and wastewaters, are other
emission sources of the Pb into the environment. Prolonged exposure
of Pb can cause digestive problems, impairment to the nervous
system, and in some cases cause cancer. It is especially hazardous
to small children.
6. Particulate matter: Particle pollutants are most important parts
of air pollutants. They are mixture of particles found in the air.
Particle pollution is known as PM is associated with most of
pulmonary and cardiac-associated morbidity and mortality. They
have varied in size rangin 2.5
PM10). The size of particle pollutants is directly linked with the
onset and progression of the lungs and heart diseases. Smaller size
particles reach the lower respiratory tract thus have superior
potential for instigating lungs and heart diseases. Also, various
scientific data have validated that fine particle pollutants cause
premature death in people with heart and lung disease comprising
cardiac dysrhythmias, aggravated asthma and nonfatal heart
attacks. On the basis of level of exposure, particulate pollutants
cause mild to severe illnesses. Wheezing, cough, dry mouth, and
breathing complications are the most dominant clinical indications
of respiratory disease ensued from air pollution.
International Standards: World Health Organization’s “WHO Air quality
guidelines” offer global assistance on threshold limits for 4 key air pollutants
that causes health threats- particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitogen
dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).
Table 3. Guideline levels for pollutants (µg/m3)
Pollutants Time period Concentration (µg/m3)
PM 2 .5 Annual mean 10
24-hour mean (99th percentile) 25
142
PM 1 0 Annual mean 20
24-hour mean (99th percentile) 50
O38 h, daily maximum 100
NO2Annual mean 40
1 h mean 200
SO224-hour mean 20
10-min mean 500
Source: World health organization A ir qua lity guidelines, 200 5
Practical measures to reduce air pollution
Using fuels with low sulphur and ash content and unleaded petrol.
Use of public transport.
Sensitive locations (schools, hospitals, playgrounds etc.) should not
be located along the busy paths.
Vegetation cover should be improved along the roadside.
Industries and waste dumping sites should preferably be located in
the outer edge of the city.
Fig. 1 Controlling measures of air pollutants in industrial establishments
The industrialization and modernization is necessary to grow, but a
long-term ecological impact and health problems of such growth should
always be considered prior to imposing a large economic load on the societies.
Therefore, it is recommended to maintain stability between economic
development and air pollution by authorizing policies to control all the actions
143
that results in air pollution.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This review presents the adverse impacts of air pollutants on human
health, triggering, numerous ailments leading to high morbidities and
mortalities, predominantly in the developing countries. Therefore, in view
of greater exposure of diverse pollutants in humans, dietary interventions
such as organic foods derived from plants, may protect different organs
from their effects. Air pollution control is need of the hour and should be on
the topmost priority of the governments. The policy makers in developing
countries must update all the laws and regulations associated to air pollution
so that general public can be helped in this regard as for as possible. A
powerful environmental protection organization must be leaded to coordinate
among different departments for combating air pollution. An operative
environmental protection organization should have enough budgets for
administration, monitoring, research and development to have full control
on the environment related problems including air pollution.
REFERENCES
1. Balali-Mood M, Shademanfar S, Rastegar Moghadam J, Afshari R, Namaei Ghassemi
M, Allah Nemati H, et al., 2010. Occupational lead poisoning in workers of traditional
tile factories in Mashhad, Northeast of Iran. Int J Occup Environ Med. 1:29–38.
2. Bentayeb M, Simoni M, Norback D, Baldacci S, Maio S, Viegi G, et al., 2013.
Indoor air pollution and respiratory health in the elderly
Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 48:1783–9.
3. www.cpcb.nic.in. Central Pollution Control Board. Retrived on 15 November,
2019.
4. www.cpcbenvis.nic.in. ENVIS Centre on Control of Pollution Water, Air and Noise.
Retrived on 15 Novcember, 2019.
5. Global update 2005, WHO Air qu ality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone,
nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.
6. Kampa M. and Castanas E. 2008 . Human health effects of air pollution. 362-367.
7. Katsouyanni, K. 2003. Ambient air pollution and h ealth. Br. Med. Bull. 6 8,143.
8. Lenntech . 2004. Water Treatment and Air Purification. Pu blished by Lenntech,
Rotte rd am seweg , Netherlands (w w w.exce lw a te r.com/ t hp/ filter s/
WaterPurification.htm).
9. Mousavi S R, Balali-Mood M, Riahi-Zanjani B, Yousefzadeh H, Sadeghi M. 2013.
Concentrations of mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium, arsenic and aluminum in
irrigation water wells and wastewaters used for agriculture in Mashhad, Northeastern
Int J Occup Environ Med. 4:80–6.
144
10. Sadeghi M, Ahmadi A, Baradaran A, Masoudipoor N, Frouzandeh S. 2015. Modeling
of the relationship between the environmental air pollution, clinical risk factors,
and hospital mortality due to myocardial infarction in Isfahan, Iran. J Res Med Sci.
20:757–62.
11. N at ional Ambien t Air Quality Stand ar ds, Central Po llu tion C on tr ol Board
2009
... Emissions of such contaminants into the atmosphere not only degrade air quality but also affect plants, humans, and the ecosystem (Rai, 2019;Rai & Panda, 2013;Sadia et al., 2019). Human health effects include allergies, respiratory, cardiovascular, hepatic, reproductive disorders, and even cancer in acute conditions (Goswami et al., 2019(Goswami et al., , 2021Pettit et al., 2021). Air pollution is one of the leading causes of unnatural death, respiratory disabilities, reduced life expectancy, degraded ecosystem, and socio-economics across the globe (Giri & Pant, 2018b;Goswami et al., 2019;Liang & Gong, 2020). ...
... Human health effects include allergies, respiratory, cardiovascular, hepatic, reproductive disorders, and even cancer in acute conditions (Goswami et al., 2019(Goswami et al., , 2021Pettit et al., 2021). Air pollution is one of the leading causes of unnatural death, respiratory disabilities, reduced life expectancy, degraded ecosystem, and socio-economics across the globe (Giri & Pant, 2018b;Goswami et al., 2019;Liang & Gong, 2020). According to an estimate of the State of Global Air (2020), the fifth-highest mortality risk factor was air pollution, which was maximum in 2017 and it was related to around 147 million years of healthy life losses and 4.9 million early deaths. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to assess the spatio-temporal impact of selected ambient air pollutants (SO2, NO2, PM10, and PM2.5) on the biochemical response of four tree species including Neem (Azadirachta indica), Mountain cedar (Toona ciliate), Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus), and Guava (Psidium guajava) in the province of Haridwar City, Uttarakhand, India. The study was performed in 2020 and 2021 over three selected sites (S1: institutional; S2: industrial; and S3: urban). Purposely, seasonal data of ambient air pollutants and biochemical parameters (ascorbic acid, carotenoid, chlorophyll, pH, relative water content, and dust load) of selected tree species were collected and analyzed using multiple linear regression (MLR) tool to develop prediction models. The results indicated that biochemical parameters of all tree species were negatively impacted by the polluted ambient air quality in the industrial and urban (S2 and S3) sites as compared to the non-polluted institutional (S1) site. The models were characterized by high prediction performance as indicated by the coefficient of determination (R2) values greater than 0.80. Moreover, A. indica was found to be more ‘tolerant’ based on the air pollution tolerance index (APTI) followed by T. ciliate, P. guajava, and C. citrinus. Similarly, the anticipated performance index (API) was reported higher for A. indica (75 to 81.25%) followed by T. ciliate (68.75 to 75.00%), P. guajava (56.25%), and C. citrinus (37.50%), respectively. This study revealed that the selected tree species are being negatively impacted by the induced pollutant exposure in the urban and industrial region of Haridwar, India which needs sufficient mitigation measures to conserve their diversities.
... Cross-sectional and time series studies have proven that exposure to motor exhaust can result in myocardial infarctions, premature birth, low birth weight, and excessive plasma viscosity (Azem et al. 2016;Ghosh et al. 2013;Folinsbee 1992;Gong et al. 2018). Air pollution is increasingly linked to the rising levels of male infertility (Kampa and Castanas 2007). The presence of CO in the inhaled air can cause hematological ailments and is linked to cancer (Cong 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Deterioration of air quality through the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels has been one of the global transboundary problems put before the research community since last five decades. According to the updated statistics, 79% of energy needs in India are met by fossil fuel combustion which results in the emission of toxic pollutants like carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and unburned hydrocarbons. Air quality has seriously been affected in many parts of India, and statistically, 13 out of 15 most polluted cities in the world lie in India. Magnetic field-assisted combustion has been proven as a reliable technology in internal combustion engines for enhancing the combustion of fuels and reduction of harmful emissions that are the byproducts of incomplete combustion of fuels. In the present work, the magnetic field-assisted combustion of a liquid-phase and a gas-phase fuel (gasoline and LPG) has been studied in a multicylinder automobile engine replicating on road driving conditions in a laboratory focusing on the levels of emissions in comparison with normal combustion of both the fuels. The experimental study concludes that the applied magnetic field positively influences combustion, resulting in reduced level of emission of toxic components irrespective of the phase of hydrocarbon fuels. It is also observed that the percentage reduction in emissions increases with increase in intensity of magnetization. The maximum reduction obtained for CO and UBHC emissions through this technique is 20.58% and 14.47%, respectively. The effectiveness of MFAC in countering air pollution from vehicular exhaust is also studied with respect to fuel phase and mode of operation. The effectiveness of MFAC is observed to be more in high-speed operation of the engine and decreases in the order CO > UBHC > NO. The obtained emission results have a cumulative significance as 45% of total air pollution in India is caused by combustion of hydrocarbons in automotive engines.
Article
Green pyrotechnics /firecrackers reported herein are driven by thermite reactions for self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions to make heat and sound by the usage of minimal fuel (aluminium), oxidizer (potassium nitrate), and Sulfur. These firecrackers have the potential for generating less emissions (70%) compared to commercial firecracker-based counterparts due to the presence of additives and are therefore designated as “Green firecrackers” or reduced emissions firecrackers. The functional performance and long-term stability of the composition was investigated through sound measurement and different tests, including ageing, thermal stability, and moisture test. The thermodynamics of the facilitated thermite reaction was cross-checked with experimental and theoretical methods. Prevalent mechanism for a substantial reduction in emissions to the tune of about 70% has been discussed. Cost of the green firecrackers is at par with the commercial firecrackers as cost of raw materials being used to prepare the formulation is comparable to the relatively toxic oxidizer substituted. “Green firecrackers” developed and reported here are environmentally benign in nature with higher business potential as far as a green chemistry-based sustainable solution for the society is required.
Article
Full-text available
Clean air is a fundamental requirement for the existence of life on earth. However, with the rapid rate of economic development, globalization, and increasing energy demand, large amount of emissions and waste are generated, leading to severe air pollution. This paper surveys the literature to provide an overview of the impact of air pollution on various aspects of human life. The impact is categorized broadly into health and socio-economic aspects and further subcategorized into multiple dimensions of health and socio-economic consequences. The survey reveals that the impact of air pollution is comprehensive, ranging from chronic to life-threatening diseases, and from malfunctioning of specific organ systems to subjective well-being. Additionally, evidence of the impact of air pollution on unexpected dimensions such as housing prices, larger economy, academic outcomes, and more is uncovered, leaving no doubt on the need to address this problem with the attention of the highest order. This evidence can be used to trigger more research and give policy-makers a starting point for clean-air campaigns. Merely highlighting the seriousness of the issue is not enough, and hence the paper also surveys the broader literature to identify interventions for clean air developed by public and private stakeholders across the world. While none of them may be ripe for blind duplication, this paper aims to provide decision-makers and researchers a bouquet of solutions to choose from while developing clean air programs and research agenda.
Article
Full-text available
Background: This study aimed to determine the relationship between the environmental factor, clinical risk factors, and individual variables with mortality due to acute myocardial infarction (MI) in Isfahan. Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study was performed between April 2012 and March 2013. The data on the patients' mortality due to MI in Isfahan were obtained from the MI National Registry. The international classification system (ICD10: I21-I22) was used to diagnose MI. The air quality indicators and environmental variables were used to measure the air pollution. Multilevel logistic regression in the Stata software was used to determine the factors associated with mortality in patients and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated. Results: Six hundred eleven patients with MI were studied during 1-year. 444 (72.2%) patients were male and the rest were female. 4.7% of the patients died due to MI. The mean age at MI incidence was 62.2 ± 13 years. Of the air pollution parameters, PM10 had the maximum mean concentration (49.113 ppm), followed by NOX, NO, NO2, CO, SO2, and O3. The adjusted OR of mortality was derived 2.07 (95% CI: 1.5-2.85) for right bundle branch block, 1.5 (95% CI: 1.3-1.7) for ST-segment elevation MI, 1.84 (95% CI: 1.13-3) for age, 1.06 (95% CI: 1.01-1.20) for CO, 1.1 (95% CI: 1.03-1.30) for O3, and 1.04 (95% CI: 1.01-1.4) for SO2, all of which were considered as the risk factors of mortality. However, OR of mortality was 0.79 for precipitation (95% CI: 0.74-0.84) and 0.52 for angioplasty (95% CI: 0.4-0.68) were considered as protective factors of mortality. The individual characteristics including age, history of MI in the immediate family, hypertension, and diabetes were significantly associated with mortality from MI. The indices of air pollution including SO2, CO, O3, and environmental factors such as the precipitation and temperature were the determinants of mortality in patients with MI. Conclusion: With regards to the factors associated with mortality from MI reported in this study, air pollution and environmental factors, in addition to the risk factors and predictive factors, should be particularly addressed to control the mortality from MI.
Article
Full-text available
Data on respiratory effects of indoor air pollution in elderly are scanty. The purpose of this review is to summarize current knowledge on adverse respiratory effects of indoor air pollution in individuals aged over 65 years, by presenting existing epidemiological evidence. Using MEDLINE database through PubMed, we identified relevant publications published between 1991 and 2011 in English on respiratory health effects of indoor air pollution in elderly (>65 years). A total of 61 studies were found and after application of the inclusion criteria: (i) epidemiologic studies published in English in peer-reviewed journals between January 1991 and December 2011, (ii) study population with age over or equal 65 years, and (iii) outcome of respiratory symptoms and disease with the exclusion of lung cancer, 33 relevant publications were selected. Most of them showed significant relationships between exposure to major indoor air pollutants and various short-term and long-term respiratory health outcomes such as wheezing, breathlessness, cough, phlegm, asthma, COPD, lung cancer and more rarely lung function decline. The most consistent relationship is found between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Further studies in the elderly population are needed in order to define causal relationships between exposures to indoor air pollution and underlying mechanisms in this sub-population.
Article
Full-text available
Contamination of water by toxic chemicals has become commonly recognized as an environmental concern. Based on our clinical observation in Mashhad, northeastern Iran, many people might be at risk of exposure to high concentrations of toxic heavy metals in water. Because wastewater effluents as well as water wells have been commonly used for irrigation over the past decades, there has been some concern on the toxic metal exposure of crops and vegetables irrigated with the contaminated water. To measure the concentrations of mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium, arsenic and aluminium in irrigation water wells and wastewaters used for agriculture in Mashhad, northeastern Iran. 36 samples were taken from irrigation water wells and a wastewater refinery in North of Mashhad at four times--May 2008, March 2009, and June and July 2010. Atomic absorption spectrometry was used to measure the concentration of toxic metals. Graphite furnace was used for the measurement of lead, chromium, cadmium and aluminum. Mercury and arsenic concentrations were measured by mercury/hydride system. Chromium, cadmium, lead and arsenic concentrations in the samples were within the standard range. The mean±SD concentration of mercury in irrigation wells (1.02±0.40 μg/L) exceeded the FAO maximum permissible levels. The aluminum concentration in irrigation water varied significantly from month to month (p=0.03). All wastewater samples contained high mercury concentrations (6.64±2.53 μg/L). For high mercury and aluminum concentrations, the water sources studied should not be used for agricultural use. Regular monitoring of the level of heavy metals in water and employing the necessary environmental interventions in this area are strongly recommended.
Article
Full-text available
Occupational lead poisoning is a health problem in Iran. It has not previously been studied in traditional tile makers. To determine the prevalence of lead poisoning and its complications in traditional tile workers in Mashhad, Northwest of Iran. We visited workers in two traditional tile factories and collected data by direct history taking and physical examination. Blood and urine lead concentrations were measured by heated graphite atomization technique. Overall, 108 men with mean±SD age of 37±7.8 years were studied. The mean±SD length of daily lead exposure was 9.8±6 years. The mean±SD blood lead concentration was 520.5±323.2 μg/L. The main objective clinical findings were the presence of lead line (64.8%), peripheral neuropathy of the upper extremities (37%), depressed deep tendon reflexes in the upper extremities (25.7%), tremor (23.3%), peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities (17%) and abdominal tenderness (15.1%). The subjective findings were mainly attributed to the central nervous system and included loss of memory (57%), moodiness (56.1%), agitation (47.7%), drowsiness (36.4%) and headache (29.9%). There was no statistically significant correlation between the blood lead concentration and glomerular filtration rate. However, there were significant correlations between the blood lead concentration and each of the urine lead concentration (p<0.001), diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.04), serum triglyceride level (p = 0.043), high density lipoprotein level (p = 0.012), and basophilic stippling (p = 0.048). Blood lead level, however, did not have any significant correlation with the presence of lead line. In traditional tile workers, lead toxicity is not uncommon and the toxic effects of lead were found more often on the teeth (bone), central and peripheral nervous system, hematological and lipid profiles than on the renal function.
Article
The adverse health effects of air pollution became widely acknowledged after severe pollution episodes occurred in Europe and North America before the 1960s. In these areas, pollutant levels have decreased. During the last 15 years, however, consistent results, mainly from epidemiological studies, have provided evidence that current air pollutant levels have been associated with adverse long- and short-term health effects, including an increase in mortality. These effects have been better studied for ambient particle concentrations but there is also substantial evidence concerning gaseous pollutants such as ozone, NO(2) and CO. Attempts to estimate the impact of air pollution effects on health in terms of the attributable number of events indicate that the ubiquitous nature of the exposure results in a considerable public health burden from relatively weak relative risks.
Article
Hazardous chemicals escape to the environment by a number of natural and/or anthropogenic activities and may cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. Increased combustion of fossil fuels in the last century is responsible for the progressive change in the atmospheric composition. Air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO(2)), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone (O(3)), heavy metals, and respirable particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), differ in their chemical composition, reaction properties, emission, time of disintegration and ability to diffuse in long or short distances. Air pollution has both acute and chronic effects on human health, affecting a number of different systems and organs. It ranges from minor upper respiratory irritation to chronic respiratory and heart disease, lung cancer, acute respiratory infections in children and chronic bronchitis in adults, aggravating pre-existing heart and lung disease, or asthmatic attacks. In addition, short- and long-term exposures have also been linked with premature mortality and reduced life expectancy. These effects of air pollutants on human health and their mechanism of action are briefly discussed.
Water Treatment and Air Purification
  • K Katsouyanni
Katsouyanni, K. 2003. Ambient air pollution and health. Br. Med. Bull. 68,143. 8. Lenntech. 2004. Water Treatment and Air Purification. Published by Lenntech, Rotterdamseweg, Netherlands (www.excelwater.com/thp/filters/ WaterPurification.htm).