Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Associations between Health Effects and Particulate Matter and Black Carbon in Subjects with Respiratory Disease

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Associations between Health Effects and Particulate Matter and Black Carbon in Subjects with Respiratory Disease

Article excerpt

We measured fractional exhaled nitric oxide ([FE.sub.NO]), spirometry, blood pressure, oxygen saturation of the blood (Sa[O.sub.2]), and pulse rate in 16 older subjects with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Seattle, Washington. Data were collected daily for 12 days. We simultaneously collected [PM.sub.10] and [PM.sub.2.5] (particulate matter [less than or equal to] 10 [micro]m or [less than or equal to] 2.5 [micro]m, respectively) filter samples at a central outdoor site, as well as outside and inside the subjects' homes. Personal [PM.sub.10] filter samples were also collected. All filters were analyzed for mass and light absorbance. We analyzed within-subject associations between health outcomes and air pollution metrics using a linear mixed-effects model with random intercept, controlling for age, ambient relative humidity, and ambient temperature. For the 7 subjects with asthma, a 10 [micro]g/[m.sup.3] increase in 24-hr average outdoor [PM.sub.10] and [PM.sub.2.5] was associated with a 5.9 [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.9-8.9] and 4.2 ppb (95% CI, 1.3-7.1) increase in [FE.sub.NO], respectively. A 1 [micro]g/[m.sup.3] increase in outdoor, indoor, and personal black carbon (BC) was associated with increases in [FE.sub.NO] of 2.3 ppb (95% CI, 1.1-3.6), 4.0 ppb (95% CI, 2.0-5.9), and 1.2 ppb (95% CI, 0.2-2.2), respectively. No significant association was found between PM or BC measures and changes in spirometry, blood pressure, pulse rate, or Sa[O.sub.2] in these subjects. Results from this study indicate that [FE.sub.NO] may be a more sensitive marker of PM exposure than traditional health outcomes and that particle-associated BC is useful for examining associations between primary combustion constituents of PM and health outcomes. Key words: asthma, black carbon, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fractional exhaled nitric oxide, panel study, particulate matter. Environ Health Perspect 113:1741-1746 (2005). doi:10.1289/ehp.8153 available via http://dx.doi.org/[Online 25 August 2005]

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Interest in particulate matter (PM) air pollution has been driven by epidemiologic studies reporting adverse cardiac and respiratory health effects [Bascom et al. 1996; Dockery 2001; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2004]. To further investigate the basis for these epidemiologic findings, it is important to assess individual exposures to PM and their related health effects. Panel studies that include indoor, outdoor, personal, and fixed-site PM monitoring can provide an important link between the effects observed in a population and the effects at the individual subject level.

Panel studies often report gravimetric measures of PM. However, current research is focusing on the constituents of PM (Brunekreef et al. 2005). Elemental carbon (EC) is one component of PM that has been associated with respiratory health effects in children. In a 10-year study of 1,759 children, Gauderman et al. (2004) found a strong association between reduced annual growth in forced expiratory volume in 1 sec ([FEV.sub.1]) in children and exposure to EC, nitrogen dioxide, and acid vapor. EC, measured on quartz filters by thermal desorption, is strongly associated with, but not identical to, "black carbon" (BC), as measured by diffuse transmittance through or reflectance from a Teflon filter. In a recent study, Kim et al. (2004) reported that concentrations of traffic-related pollutants (PM, BC, total nitrogen oxides, and N[O.sub.2]) were associated with respiratory symptoms in children.

EC and BC have also been associated with cardiovascular health effects. In a study of defibrillator discharge interventions among 100 adult patients, Peters et al. (2000) found that patients with [greater than or equal to] 10 interventions experienced increased arrhythmias in association with short-term variations in BC, N[O.sub.2], carbon monoxide, and fine particulate mass ([PM.sub.2.5]). In a study of 269 elderly Boston, Massachusetts, residents equipped with Holter monitors, an elevated BC level was associated with a -0. …

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