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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 238  

Traffic related air pollution and respiratory morbidity

Department of Internal and Public Medicine, University Medical School of Bari, Bari, Italy

Date of Web Publication7-Oct-2011

Correspondence Address:
Luigi Vimercati
Department of Internal and Public Medicine, University Medical School of Bari, Bari
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-2113.85682

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How to cite this article:
Vimercati L. Traffic related air pollution and respiratory morbidity. Lung India 2011;28:238

How to cite this URL:
Vimercati L. Traffic related air pollution and respiratory morbidity. Lung India [serial online] 2011 [cited 2021 Jul 25];28:238. Available from: https://www.lungindia.com/text.asp?2011/28/4/238/85682

Exposure to high levels of air pollution from motor vehicles is frequently associated with increased morbidity from cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and respiratory diseases, such as bronchitis and respiratory tract infections. [l] Moreover, it appears that the traffic fumes could play a critical role in the induction of allergic conditions. The incidence of allergic diseases has increased over recent years in most industrialized countries. [2] Several epidemiological studies showed an association between exposure to motor vehicle traffic emission and allergic symptoms and reduced lung function. [3] Exposure to air pollutants enhances airway response to inhaled allergens in susceptible subjects.

Several pollutants (NO2 , O3 , and PM components) are linked to asthma exacerbation and may contribute to asthma pathogenesis. In most of the industrialised countries, people who live in urban areas tend to be more affected by allergic respiratory diseases than those in rural areas. [4],[5]

Regarding health effects, the most important traffic-related air pollutant is particulate matter; exhaust from motor vehicle traffic is considered as contributing to more than 50% of ambient particulate matter with a mass median aerodynamic diameter less than 10 micron, known as PM10. In addition, other toxic compounds, such as NO 2 , CO and benzene have to be taken into consideration. [6],[7]

Epidemiological studies indicate an increased risk for lung cancer in urban residents compared to a rural population. [8] Among urban citizens, the highest exposure to airborne pollutants is experienced by outdoor workers, such as policemen, who are considered a high-risk group. Previous studies suggest an increased prevalence of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, as well as an excess of cytogenetic alterations and DNA adducts in white blood cells of traffic police workers. A recent study showed that traffic policeman exposed to air pollution presented airway neutrophilic inflammation. [9]

On this basis, the study "Respiratory effects of air pollutants among non-smoking traffic policemen of Patiala, India", [10] is most important because it provides data from a developing country where there are high traffic conditions related to motor vehicles. Given the results of the spirometric study in Patiala, it will be important to introduce allergic status evaluation in traffic policemen of Patiala. In addition, according to the suggestion of the Authors, to reduce the occupational exposure to pollutans, it will also be important to use personal protective equipment for these workers in accordance with the provisions of European law.

   References Top

1.Sydbom A, Blomberg A, Parnia S, Stenfors N, Sandström T, Dahlén SE. Health effects of diesel exhaust emissions. Eur Respir J 2001;17:733-46.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Peterson B, Saxon A. Global increases in allergic respiratory disease: The possible role of diesel exhaust particles. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1996;77:263-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Heinrich J, Wichmann HE. Traffic related pollutants in Europe and their effect on allergic disease. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2004;4:341-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.vonMutius E, Martinez FD, Fritzsch C, Nicolai T, Roell G, Thiemann HH. Prevalence of asthma and atopy in two areas of West and East Germany. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1994;149:358-64.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Wyler C, Braun-Fahrländer C, Künzli N, Schindler C, Ackermann-Liebrich U, Perruchoud AP, et al. Exposure to motor vehicle traffic and allergic sensitization. The Swiss Study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA) Team. Epidemiology 2000;11:450-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.WHO. Health aspects of air pollution with particulate matter. Ozone and nitrogen dioxide. Report on a WHO Working Group, Bonn, 2003.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Künzli N, Kaiser R, Medina S, Studnicka M, Chanel O, Filliger P, et al. Public health impact of outdoor and traffic-related air pollution: A European assessment. Lancet 2000;356:795-801.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Diaz-Sanchez D, Tsien A, Fleming J, Saxon A. Combined diesel exhaust particulated ragweed allergen challenge markedly enhances human in vivo nasal ragweed specific IgE and skews cytokine production to a T helper cell 2-type pattern. J Immunol 1997;158:2406-13.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Dragonieri S, Musti M, Izzo C, Esposito LM, Foschino Barbaro MP, Resta O, et al. Sputum induced cellularity in a group of traffic policemen. Sci Total Environ 2006;367:433-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Gupta S, Singh KD, Kumar A, Mittal S. Respiratory effects of air pollutants among non smoking traffic policemen of Patiala, India. Lung India 2011;28:253-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
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