Air pollution levels are associated with reduced lung function

In March 2019 researchers from Austria published the results of their study to assess the short-term effects of air pollution and other environmental exposures. Twenty-four healthy students walked for 1 hour in each of following four settings: along a busy road, along a busy road wearing ear plugs, in a park, and in a park but exposed to traffic noise (65 dB) through headphones. Particle mass and noise levels were measured throughout each walk. Lung function was measured before, immediately after, 1 hour after, and approximately 24 hours after each walk. Blood pressure and heart rate variability were measured every 15 min during each walk. Results showed that recorded air pollution levels correlated with reduced lung function, ie the higher the pollution levels the lower the lung function. The effects remained visible up to 24 hour after exposure, which indicates an induced inflammatory reaction. Noise levels reduced systolic blood pressure and heart rate variability. Maybe due to the small sample size, no effects were visible per specific setting (ie road vs. park).

Moshammer H et al. Acute Effects of Air Pollution and Noise from Road Traffic in a Panel of Young Healthy Adults. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar 4;16(5). pii: E788

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