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Journal of Epidemiology
Vol. 24 (2014) No. 4 P 312-320



Original Article

Background: Exposure to air pollution has been reported to be associated with asthma exacerbation. However, little is known about the effects of air pollutant exposure in healthy people. A panel study was conducted to evaluate the acute effects of air pollutants on pulmonary function and airway inflammation in healthy subjects.
Methods: Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) pH, fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), and pulmonary function were measured in 21 healthy young women repeatedly for two weeks in the summer in Tokyo, Japan. The concentrations of air pollutants were obtained from the monitoring stations in the neighborhoods where the subjects lived. Statistical analyses were performed using generalized estimating equations.
Results: EBC pH decreased significantly with a 10-ppb increase in the 4-day average ozone (O3) concentration and a 10-µg/m3 increase in the 4-day average suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentration (−0.07 [95% confidence interval {CI} −0.11 to −0.03] and −0.08 [95% CI −0.12 to −0.03], respectively). Subjects with a history of rhinitis showed marked decreases in EBC pH associated with increases in O3 and SPM. The changes in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) were also significantly associated with a 10-µg/m3 increase in the 3-day average concentration of SPM (−0.09 L [95% CI −0.17 to −0.01]). FeNO increased significantly in relation to the increase in O3 and SPM among only subjects with a history of asthma.
Conclusions: Over the course of the study, EBC became significantly acidic with increases in O3 and SPM concentrations. Furthermore, higher SPM concentrations were associated with decreased FEV1. Subjects with a history of rhinitis or asthma are considered to be more susceptible to air pollutants.

Copyright © 2014 Yoshiko Yoda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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