Effects of ozone on lung function

According to a study in Chinese adults, ozone exposure associated with impaired lung function is also linked to health changes that can cause cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke. The results were obtained by specialists from Duke University, Tsinghua University, Duke of Kunshan University and Peking University.
Ozone is a pollutant produced by a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight interacts with nitrogen oxides and other organic compounds from coal combustion, vehicle exhaust and some natural sources.
Ozone is known to damage the respiratory system, impair lung function and trigger asthma attacks . The work carried out has shown that it also affects other aspects of human health, in particular, the cardiovascular system. Scientists studied eighty-nine healthy adults living in Changsha, China, for one year. They monitored indoor and outdoor ozone levels along with other pollutants. Four times at intervals in time, the research team took blood and urine samples from the participants and used a breathing test called spirometry to study a number of factors that may contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory disease. The group examined inflammation and oxidative stress, arterial stiffness, blood pressure, blood clotting factors, and lung function in the participants. They noted the activation of platelets (a risk factor for blood clotting) and an increase in blood pressure, which indicates a possible mechanism for the effect of ozone on the cardiovascular system. These effects were found when exposed to ozone levels that were lower than negative effects on respiratory health and lower than current EPA air quality standards. In 2015, one hundred and eight million Americans – one third of the population – lived in counties with ozone levels that exceeded EPA standards. And thirty-one million people live in counties where other pollutants exceed standards. Worldwide ozone production will be exacerbated by warmer climates, pushing the trend towards climate change, the authors say. Ozone is a difficult pollutant to control because its creation in the atmosphere is complex. For example, reducing nitric oxide does not necessarily mean decreasing ozone levels. 

event_note December 31, 2021

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