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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Imprimir: 0278-940X
ISSN En Línea: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2017019757
pages 383-395

Air Pollution's Effects on the Human Respiratory System

Nehaarika Kantipudi
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 3Z5 Canada
Vivek Patel
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, 10b Victoria St South, Kitchener Ontario, N2G 1C5, Canada; Department of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, L8S 4K1, Ontario, Canada
Graham Jones
Markad V. Kamath
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 3Z5 Canada
Adrian R. M. Upton
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, L8N3Z5, Canada

SINOPSIS

The World Health Organization defines air pollution as "any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere." The most common pollutants include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide. The two types of air pollution, indoor and ambient, both contribute to a host of cardiac and respiratory illnesses. Exposure to excess levels of air pollution is significantly associated with a variety of acute and chronic respiratory illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, respiratory allergies, and lung cancer. The effects of air pollution disproportionately impact the extremes of the age distribution, perhaps due to altered immune responses. Athletes and those who exercise outdoors are at greater risk for the respiratory effects of air pollution. This article discusses the epidemiology, types of respiratory diseases, and mechanisms involved in exposure to excess levels of air pollution. Biomedical engineering can contribute to the identification of air pollutants through the design of novel instrumentation using materials based on nanotechnology. Mathematical models can also be developed to characterize the physiological effects of air pollution.


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