Wheezing and lung function measured in subjects exposed to various levels of fine particles and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

The main purpose of the study was to assess the occurrence of wheezing and lung function in non-smoking women exposed to various levels of fine particulate matter (FP) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Out of the total study group, 152 women were included in the lower exposed group (PM2.5 ≤34.3μg/m3 or PAHs ≤ 22.9ng/ m3) and 96 persons in higher concentrations of both air pollutants (PM2.5>34.3μg/m3 and PAHs > 22.9ng/ m3). Except for FVC and FEV1, all lung forced ventilatory flows (PEFR, FEF25% FEF50%, FEF75%, FEF25−75%) were significantly lower in the higher exposed group. The findings suggest bronchoconstriction within the respiratory tract, which may be related to the exposure under study. This was consistent with a higher prevalence of wheezing in more exposed subjects. It was shown that higher levels of both pollutants increased the risk of wheezing by factor 5.6 (95% CI: 1.77–17.8) after accounting for potential confounders such as allergic diseases and exposure to ETS. This study suggests that pollutants in question may have the capacity to promote broncho-constriction and asthmatic symptoms, possibly by bronchial inflammation resulting from the exposure.

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