Air Pollution
V. S. S. Nair
Nov 24, 2010
Institution of Engineers
DRINK 2 liters of water
BREATHE 15,000 liters of air
More than 10 liters every minute!
In one day, we…
We can …
Live without food
for more than 10 days
Survive without water
for 3 days
NOT MORE THAN
3 MINUTES WITHOUT
AIR
BUT…
AIR
Supplies the Oxygen necessary for
all functions of the body including brain
AIR
reaches 100 sq. meters of surface
area of the lungs
Exercise & Breathing
 Exercise improves the body’s ability to deliver
oxygen
 It can increase the intake of air by as mu...
Air Pollution
Who is at risk?
 Children
 Elderly
 Prior heart or lung disease patients
 Diabetics
 Persons who work/e...
Air Pollution
Health Problems
 Impaired fertility
 Birth defects
 Respiratory infections
 Asthma
 Emphysema
 Lung Ca...
Air Pollution
Pyramid of effects
Lung function changes, immune cell responses
Heart rate or heart rate variability respons...
Air Pollution
Main Pollutants
 Ozone
 Particulates, especially PM 2.5
 Air-borne toxics
 Mercury
Air Pollutants:
Ground level Ozone
Ultra-violet light
Volatile Organics
Nitrogen oxides
Air Pollutants:
Ground level Ozone
Nitrogen oxides
50%
From Traffic
50%
From Power plants
and Industry
Air Pollutants:
Ground level Ozone
Seasonal variation
Daily variation
Outdoors
Does not penetrate buildings
Air Pollutants:
Ground level Ozone
 Caustic Gas – clear, colourless, odourless
 Oxidises proteins, lipids in the mucosal...
Asthma Epidemic
50% in Children
100% in Adults
Ozone and Asthma attacks
Hundreds of published studies conducted
around the world all show the same results:
 More Ozone ...
Airway Obstruction
Ozone reduces Lung
function
FEV1,%CHANGE
BASELINE 2HR 4HR
-60
-40
-20
0
Ozone causes Asthma
Exercising children exposed to Ozone:
A cohort study
Time Outdoors = Asthma
McConnell, et al. Lancet 2...
Ozone: Asthma effects
 More people with Asthma
 More asthma attacks
 More asthma medicine usage
 More doctor, Casualty...
Ozone: other effects
Allergy symptoms
Respiratory infections
Ear infections
Emphysema attacks
Overall death rates
Air pollutants: Particulates
Sulfates
Nitrates
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
(PAH)
Soot/ Carbon
Dust
Particulate Physiology
Penetrate deeply into lungs to alveoli
Irritate lung linings – more Asthma
Stimulate immune syst...
Air pollutants: Particulates
Year round exposures
Penetrate buildings
Particulates: Cardiac
effects
Vascular inflammation
Blood clotting protein levels
Cardiac arrhythmias
Blood pressure
Heart...
Particulates: Cardiac
effects
Vascular inflammation is more
important than cholesterol
in the development of
cardio-vascul...
Air Pollution and
Next-day Heart attacks
Short-term exposure to particulates (PM
2.5) increases the incidence of heart
at...
Air Pollution and
Stroke deaths
Fine Particulate matter and gaseous
pollutants are significant risk factors for
acute str...
Effects on otherwise healthy
people
Asthma rates in adults
Pneumonia & respiratory infections
Lung cancer rates similar to...
Effects on children –
A generation at risk
Multiple birth defects – heart, neural tube
Higher infant mortality
More ast...
Final thoughts
 Health and economic issue
 Prioritise air quality improvement in decision-
making
 Over half the proble...
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Air pollution v s s nair - nov 24

  1. 1. Air Pollution V. S. S. Nair Nov 24, 2010 Institution of Engineers
  2. 2. DRINK 2 liters of water BREATHE 15,000 liters of air More than 10 liters every minute! In one day, we…
  3. 3. We can … Live without food for more than 10 days Survive without water for 3 days
  4. 4. NOT MORE THAN 3 MINUTES WITHOUT AIR BUT…
  5. 5. AIR Supplies the Oxygen necessary for all functions of the body including brain
  6. 6. AIR reaches 100 sq. meters of surface area of the lungs
  7. 7. Exercise & Breathing  Exercise improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen  It can increase the intake of air by as much as 10 times  When we exercise in polluted air, we increase our contact with pollutants; and increase our vulnerability to health damage Air pollution is a key risk factor for a number of diseases and
  8. 8. Air Pollution Who is at risk?  Children  Elderly  Prior heart or lung disease patients  Diabetics  Persons who work/exercise outdoors  Otherwise healthy adults and children
  9. 9. Air Pollution Health Problems  Impaired fertility  Birth defects  Respiratory infections  Asthma  Emphysema  Lung Cancer  Heart attacks  Strokes  Premature death
  10. 10. Air Pollution Pyramid of effects Lung function changes, immune cell responses Heart rate or heart rate variability responses Asthma attacks, medication use, symptoms Doctor Visits Hospital Admissions Death
  11. 11. Air Pollution Main Pollutants  Ozone  Particulates, especially PM 2.5  Air-borne toxics  Mercury
  12. 12. Air Pollutants: Ground level Ozone Ultra-violet light Volatile Organics Nitrogen oxides
  13. 13. Air Pollutants: Ground level Ozone Nitrogen oxides 50% From Traffic 50% From Power plants and Industry
  14. 14. Air Pollutants: Ground level Ozone Seasonal variation Daily variation Outdoors Does not penetrate buildings
  15. 15. Air Pollutants: Ground level Ozone  Caustic Gas – clear, colourless, odourless  Oxidises proteins, lipids in the mucosal fluid layer  Highly irritating to lung linings  Increases lung secretions, decreases oxygenation  Sets off airway bronchospasm  Recruits inflammatory cells  Increases responses to allergens  Damages infection fighting responses  Chronic lung damage/remodeling
  16. 16. Asthma Epidemic 50% in Children 100% in Adults
  17. 17. Ozone and Asthma attacks Hundreds of published studies conducted around the world all show the same results:  More Ozone Pollution exposure leads to more asthma attacks  Dose = Response relationship
  18. 18. Airway Obstruction
  19. 19. Ozone reduces Lung function FEV1,%CHANGE BASELINE 2HR 4HR -60 -40 -20 0
  20. 20. Ozone causes Asthma Exercising children exposed to Ozone: A cohort study Time Outdoors = Asthma McConnell, et al. Lancet 2002: 359: 386-91
  21. 21. Ozone: Asthma effects  More people with Asthma  More asthma attacks  More asthma medicine usage  More doctor, Casualty and Urgent Care visits  More children and elderly in hospitals  More school absences  More lost work days
  22. 22. Ozone: other effects Allergy symptoms Respiratory infections Ear infections Emphysema attacks Overall death rates
  23. 23. Air pollutants: Particulates Sulfates Nitrates Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) Soot/ Carbon Dust
  24. 24. Particulate Physiology Penetrate deeply into lungs to alveoli Irritate lung linings – more Asthma Stimulate immune system inflammatory proteins
  25. 25. Air pollutants: Particulates Year round exposures Penetrate buildings
  26. 26. Particulates: Cardiac effects Vascular inflammation Blood clotting protein levels Cardiac arrhythmias Blood pressure Heart rate variability Alters Cardiac conduction
  27. 27. Particulates: Cardiac effects Vascular inflammation is more important than cholesterol in the development of cardio-vascular disease
  28. 28. Air Pollution and Next-day Heart attacks Short-term exposure to particulates (PM 2.5) increases the incidence of heart attacks for one day following exposure As air pollution goes up, the risk of heart attack goes up Increased particulate air pollution and the triggering of Myocardial infarction Peters et al.; Circulation, June 12, 2001, vol. 103
  29. 29. Air Pollution and Stroke deaths Fine Particulate matter and gaseous pollutants are significant risk factors for acute stroke death Women and the elderly are most susceptible to the effects of particulate air pollutants More air pollution exposure More acute stroke deaths= Effect of Air Pollutants on Acute Stroke Mortality. Hong et al. Feb.,2002; Environmental health perspectives, v. 110. no.2
  30. 30. Effects on otherwise healthy people Asthma rates in adults Pneumonia & respiratory infections Lung cancer rates similar to living with a smoker Overall death rates Faster decline in lung function with age
  31. 31. Effects on children – A generation at risk Multiple birth defects – heart, neural tube Higher infant mortality More asthma Impaired lung development Premature emphysema Increased respiratory infections Higher health care expenditures
  32. 32. Final thoughts  Health and economic issue  Prioritise air quality improvement in decision- making  Over half the problem is traffic  Massive hidden health costs in transportation and power pollution  Imposed risk on all population groups, especially our children and elderly

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