Air pollution : The hub of new diseases

24 January 2014
Air pollution : The hub of new diseases


Life Desk :
We breathe approximately 12-15 times per minute at rest and for each inhalation we change approximately one litre of air.
Depending on the activity level, this makes up a daily quantity in the order of twenty cubic metres of air that - with its content of pollution in the form of particles and different gases - can make us ill depending on how polluted the air is.
Asthma attacks, wheezing, cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer are some of the more glaring examples of diseases we - in worst case - can get from the domestic air. The list of injuries due to air pollution in Denmark is long. This appears from a brand new article that professor Ole Hertel from Aarhus University, has written with a number of Danish colleagues at University of Copenhagen, the Danish Cancer Society and Aarhus University.
"So the list of diseases detected in Denmark is long, but it does not mean that we have the world's most polluted air. This is to be found in Asia, Africa and South America.
 Here, you typically find a yearly mean value of the particle pollution (PM10) of 50-200 micrograms per cubic metres of air, while the content in Copenhagen and other Western European Megacities typically is at a lower level - about 20-50 micrograms per cubic metre.
But even in a "moderately polluted" air as we call it in Danish towns and cities, we find many serious injuries which come from the air that we breathe every day," explains Ole Hertel.Danish studiesIn the article "Utilizing Monitoring Data and Spatial Analysis Tools for Exposure Assessment of Atmospheric Pollutants in Denmark", Ole Hertel and his colleagues review the Danish experiences in combining measurements and models.
By combining measurements on relatively few but well-chosen places with advanced models for spreading of air pollution, the researchers can calculate the air pollution down to the individual addresses. Hertel and Co. review a number of Danish studies of the coherence between air pollution and injuries to health.
A total of nine short-term studies have been published in Denmark, where researchers have demonstrated respiratory and cardiovascular diseases after episodes with increased air pollution, etc. Similarly, eleven studies demonstrate long-term injuries due to air pollution, e.g. lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and mortality.

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