Friday February 28, 2020

Air Pollution Associated with More Severe Rhinitis Symptoms: Researchers

Airborne particulate matter and NO2 are both traffic-related pollutants

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Pollution- climate crisis
Climate crisis has increased due to air pollution and people are facing lung and heart-related problems. VOA

Researchers have found that the nasal symptoms of rhinitis are more severe in people exposed to higher levels of outdoor air pollution.

Rhinitis, a condition that affects between 20 per cent and 50 per cent of the world’s population, is a disorder of the nasal mucosa characterised by congestion, sneezing, rhinorrhoea, nasal irritation and, in some cases, a reduced sense of smell.

“Rhinitis is associated with asthma, which is closely linked to air pollution. That is why we thought it would be interesting to investigate whether long-term exposure to air pollution also plays a determining role in rhinitis,” said study researcher Benedicte Jacquemi from Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers analysed data from 1,408 patients with rhinitis from 17 different European cities, including Barcelona and Oviedo (Spain), Paris (France), Antwerp (Belgium), Umea (Sweden) and Erfurt (Germany).

The participants answered a questionnaire regarding the severity of each one of their rhinitis symptoms and the extent to which the condition interferes with their day-to-day lives.

According to the researchers, airborne particles, the diameter of which can vary from micrometres to millimetres, are solid or liquid bodies present in the air. Particles with a diameter under 2.5 (PM2.5) and under ten micrometres (PM10) are of particular interest in this context.

Delhi Toxic Air
An elderly Indian woman seeks alms as youth wearing pollution masks walk through a shopping area in New Delhi, India. VOA

As the study shows, people living in cities with higher levels of PM10 and PM2.5 report the most severe rhinitis symptoms. An increase of 5 �g/m3 in PM2.5 was associated with a 17 per cent higher probability of severe rhinitis.

These particles were associated with increased severity of congestion, nasal irritation and sneezing, whereas exposure to NO2 increased the severity of nasal discharge and congestion, the study said.

Airborne particulate matter and NO2 are both traffic-related pollutants.

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“The role of these pollutants in the severity of symptoms is probably linked to oxidative stress, apoptosis (a process by which irreparably damaged cells are eliminated) and inflammation,” said study lead author Emilie Burte.

“Our findings suggest that the effect of airborne particulate matter differs from that of gaseous emissions (NO2), probably because their respective mechanisms of action provoke different inflammatory responses in the respiratory tract; however, more studies are needed to validate this hypothesis,” Burt added. (IANS)

Next Story

Exposure to Air Pollution May Trigger Non-Fatal Heart Attack

Air pollution's tiny particles may trigger heart attacks

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Heart attack pollution
Exposure to ambient ultrafine particles common in air pollution may potentially trigger a non-fatal heart attack. Pixabay

Researchers have found that even a few hours’ exposure to ambient ultrafine particles common in air pollution may potentially trigger a non-fatal heart attack.

Myocardial infarction is a major form of cardiovascular disease worldwide. Ultrafine particles (UFP) are 100 nanometres or smaller in size. In urban areas, automobile emissions are the primary source of UFP.

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers investigated the effects of UFP exposure and heart attacks using the number of particles and the particle length and surface area concentrations at hourly intervals of exposure.

“This study confirms something that has long been suspected–air pollution’s tiny particles can play a role in serious heart disease. This is particularly true within the first few hours of exposure,” said the study’s first author Kai Chen, Assistant Professor at Yale University in the US.

Heart attack pollution
The researchers were interested in whether transient UFP exposure could trigger heart attacks and whether alternative metrics such as particle length and surface area concentrations could improve the investigation of UFP-related health effects. Pixabay

UFP constitute a health risk due to their small size, large surface areas per unit of mass, and their ability to penetrate the cells and get into the blood system, the study said.

The researchers were interested in whether transient UFP exposure could trigger heart attacks and whether alternative metrics such as particle length and surface area concentrations could improve the investigation of UFP-related health effects.

The research team examined data from a registry of all non-fatal MI cases in Augsburg, Germany.

The study looked at more than 5,898 non-fatal heart attack patients between 2005 and 2015.

The individual heart attacks were compared against air pollution UFP data on the hour of the heart attack and adjusted for a range of additional factors, such as the day of the week, long-term time trend and socio-economic status.

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“This represents an important step toward understanding the appropriate indicator of ultrafine particles exposure in determining the short-term health effects, as the effects of particle length and surface concentrations were stronger than the ones of particle number concentration and remained similar after adjustment for other air pollutants,” said Chen.

“Our future analyses will examine the combined hourly exposures to both air pollution and extreme temperature. We will also identify vulnerable subpopulations regarding pre-existing diseases and medication intake,” Chen added. (IANS)