Items in AFP with MESH term: Air Pollution
ABSTRACT: Allergic disease affects millions of persons in the United States. Environmental control measures are essential for persons who are sensitive to dust mite and cat allergens and may be important in persons who are sensitive to cockroaches and fungus. The bedroom is the most important room in which to implement environmental control measures, such as encasing mattresses and pillows in vinyl or semipermeable covers. Patients with asthma (especially persistent asthma) should be considered for allergy testing and more aggressive environmental control measures. Carpet in the bedroom or over concrete should be removed. For persons who are sensitive to pet allergens, permanent removal of the pet is recommended. Dust mite and fungus growth can be controlled by keeping the household humidity level at less than 50 percent. Removing sources of food and water and using insecticides will help control cockroach populations. Patients who are sensitive to mold and outdoor air pollution should consider limiting outdoor activities when these levels are high. Patients with asthma should avoid exposure to tobacco smoke. (Am Fam Physician 2002;66:429-30.)
ABSTRACT: Almost 160 million persons live in areas of the United States that exceed federal health-based air pollution standards. The two air pollutants that most commonly exceed standards are ozone and particulate matter. Ozone and particulate matter can harm anyone if levels are sufficiently elevated, but health risk from air pollution is greatest among vulnerable populations. Both ozone and particulate matter can cause pulmonary inflammation, decreased lung function, and exacerbation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Particulate matter is also strongly associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Children, older adults, and other vulnerable persons may be sensitive to lower levels of air pollution. Persons who are aware of local air pollution levels, reported daily by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the Air Quality Index, can take action to reduce exposure. These actions include simple measures to limit exertion and time spent outdoors when air pollution levels are highest, and to reduce the infiltration of outdoor air pollutants into indoor spaces.
ABSTRACT: Global warming will cause significant harm to the health of persons and their communities by compromising food and water supplies; increasing risks of morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and heat stress; changing social determinants of health resulting from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and expanding flood plains; and worsening air quality, resulting in additional morbidity and mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Vulnerable populations such as children, older persons, persons living at or below the poverty level, and minorities will be affected earliest and greatest, but everyone likely will be affected at some point. Family physicians can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stabilize the climate, and reduce the risks of climate change while also directly improving the health of their patients. Health interventions that have a beneficial effect on climate change include encouraging patients to reduce the amount of red meat in their diets and to replace some vehicular transportation with walking or bicycling. Patients are more likely to make such lifestyle changes if their physician asks them to and leads by example. Medical offices and hospitals can become more energy efficient by recycling, purchasing wind-generated electricity, and turning off appliances, computers, and lights when not in use. Moreover, physicians can play an important role in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by advocating for enforcement of existing air quality regulations and working with local and national policy makers to further improve air quality standards, thereby improving the health of their patients and slowing global climate change.