Particulate matter concentration in ambient air and its effects on lung functions among residents in the National Capital Region, India
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The World Health Organization has estimated that air pollution is responsible for 1.4 % of all deaths and 0.8 % of disability-adjusted life years. NOIDA, located at the National Capital Region, India, was declared as one of the critically air-polluted areas by the Central Pollution Control Board of the Government of India. Studies on the relationship of reduction in lung functions of residents living in areas with higher concentrations of particulate matter (PM) in ambient air were inconclusive since the subjects of most of the studies are hospital admission cases. Very few studies, including one from India, have shown the relationship of PM concentration and its effects of lung functions in the same location. Hence, a cross-sectional study was undertaken to study the effect of particulate matter concentration in ambient air on the lung functions of residents living in a critically air-polluted area in India. PM concentrations in ambient air (PM1, PM2.5) were monitored at residential locations and identified locations with higher (NOIDA) and lower concentrations (Gurgaon). Lung function tests (FEV1, PEFR) were conducted using a spirometer in 757 residents. Both air monitoring and lung function tests were conducted on the same day. Significant negative linear relationship exists between higher concentrations of PM1 with reduced FEV1 and increased concentrations of PM2.5 with reduced PEFR and FEV1. The study shows that reductions in lung functions (PEFR and FEV1) can be attributed to higher particulate matter concentrations in ambient air. Decline in airflow obstruction in subjects exposed to high PM concentrations can be attributed to the fibrogenic response and associated airway wall remodeling. The study suggests the intervention of policy makers and stake holders to take necessary steps to reduce the emissions of PM concentrations, especially PM1, PM2.5, which can lead to serious respiratory health concerns in residents.
KeywordsLung functions Particulate matter India
The authors thank Mr. NK Yadav, Project Assistant, for the data compilation. This work was funded by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India, under Network project NWP 17. This is IITR Comm. no. 2897.
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