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March, 2007:

Air Pollution Exacerbates Pulmonary Hospital Admissions

Blue Skies China Written by James Ockenden – Mar 06, 2007

Air pollution increases hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, according to a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The study assessed the relationship between the levels of ambient air pollutants and the hospitalization rate due to COPD in Hong Kong.

Data of daily emergency hospital admissions to 15 hospitals in Hong Kong for COPD and indices of air pollutants including sulfur dioxide (SO2), NOx, ozone (O3), particulates with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10mm (PM10) and 2.5mm (PM2.5), and meteorological variables, from January 2000 to December 2004 were obtained.

Significant associations were found between hospital admissions for COPD and all 5 air pollutants. For every 10mg/m3 increase in those pollutants, the rates of COPD hospitalizations rose from 0.7% to 3.4%.

O3 had the strongest effect on COPD hospitalizations and the effect of SO2, NOx, and O3 had a stronger effect on COPD admissions in the cold season, from December to March, than during the warm seasons.

Adverse effects of ambient concentrations of air pollutants on hospitalization rates for COPD are evident, especially during the winter season in Hong Kong.