Medicina e società
1Libero docente, Clinica Pediatrica, Università di Parma
2Tecnico, Università di Parma
Key words: Air pollution, PM10, Ozone, Lung disease, Prevention
The two most important air pollutants are: particulate mater with a diameter less than 10 μm or PM10 and ozone (O3), the first prevailing from October to April the second during summer. Epidemiological studies suggest that every 10 μm/m3 increase in PM10 is associated with approximately a 3% increase in respiratory mortality and a 2-3% increase in admissions and care visits for respiratory disease. The values registered in Parma in January and February 2005 suggest that PM10 frequently (1-2 days over 3) was responsible of a 10% increase of cough, bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma episodes in children. Each 50 μg/m3 increase in O3 is associated with a 50% increase in allergic rhinitis, cough and hospital admissions for respiratory disease. The concentration reached in Parma in July and August 2004 suggests that O3 frequently causes such an increase in respiratory problems. Long term O3 and PM10 exposure can induce new cases of asthma and adversely affects lung development leading to a reduced lung volume as children reach adulthood. The paediatrician informed about the relationship between local air quality and respiratory disease can provide a starting point for discussion and education.
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