Environmental respiratory health in central and eastern Europe

The main objective of the paper was to discuss the environmental issues in the countries of central and eastern Europe (CEE) and to show their significance for respiratory health. Many epidemiologic studies carried out in the region have documented an association between air pollution and adverse health effects in the respiratory tract. Short-term exposure to ambient air pollution has been related to an increase in mortality and hospital admissions for diseases of respiratory tract. Effects of long-term exposure was implicated in the rising trends of lower respiratory tract diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis, in both children and adults. Recent evidence indicates that the prevalence of allergic sensitization in the CEE countries is higher in urban than in rural areas, however, it is not clear to what extent ambient air pollution has contributed to this difference. It is difficult to estimate the toll of adverse health effects caused by air pollution in the CEE countries because of insufficient data on exposure. However, it is evident that significant positive effects would occur if air pollution concentrations in the region were reduced along with the WHO guidelines.

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