Air pollution and chronic airway diseases: what should people know and do?

Xu-Qin Jiang, Xiao-Dong Mei, Di Feng


The health effects of air pollution remain a public health concern worldwide. Exposure to air pollution has many substantial adverse effects on human health. Globally, seven million deaths were attributable to the joint effects of household and ambient air pollution. Subjects with chronic respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of air pollutants. Air pollution can induce the acute exacerbation of COPD and onset of asthma, increase the respiratory morbidity and mortality. The health effects of air pollution depend on the components and sources of pollutants, which varied with countries, seasons, and times. Combustion of solid fuels is a major source of air pollutants in developing countries. To reduce the detrimental effects of air pollution, people especially those with COPD or asthma should be aware of the air quality and take extra measures such as reducing the time outdoor and wearing masks when necessary. For reducing the air pollutants indoor, people should use clean fuels and improve the stoves so as to burn fuel more efficiently and vent emissions to the outside. Air cleaners that can improve the air quality efficiently are recommended.