In a new study, researchers reported on the link between air pollution and breathing-related emergency hospital visits in the USA.
The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, focused on the impacts of two types of air pollution: ozone, which forms smog, and particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), fine particles that can travel deep into the lungs. It also used data collected across 17 different states in the USA to make sure that the results were widely relevant.
Researchers took the hospital records of almost 40 million breathing-related emergency visits and compared them with local pollution levels in the week before the visit.
They were also interested in the effects of air pollution on people of different ages, so split the records into three groups: visits from children under 19, visits from adults under 65 and visits from adults over 65.
As well as confirming the link between air pollution and emergency visits, the study provided details about the type of visits each pollutant was most strongly associated with. For example:
The researchers did not have information on individual exposure (how much air pollution any one person breathed in), making it difficult to say for sure whether air pollution was the direct reason for a hospital visit. Yet, the level of detail in this study means that its results could help to guide policies to better protect people from the effects of air pollution.
Read the abstract of the journal article.
Read our factsheets on outdoor air pollution and on air quality and lung health.
Find out more about the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign, which is raising awareness of the importance of clean air.
Learn about the conditions that can affect our lungs and access our lung condition specific information.Read more
Learn more about life with a lung condition and things you can do to improve your quality of life.Read more
Learn about the factors that can cause lung disease and the ways to reduce your contact with them.Read more
Sign up to our free monthly newsletter to get the latest information and research news on lung conditions, plus views from experts and patients! You can unsubscribe at any time.