The weekly changes in ambient sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and temperature were compared with the figures for respiratory infection in children and adults and for absenteeism from day-care centers (DCC), schools, and workplaces during a 1-year period in Helsinki. The annual average level of sulfur dioxide was 21 micrograms/m3 and of nitrogen dioxide 47 micrograms/m3; the average temperature was +3.1 degrees C. The levels of these pollutants and the temperature were significantly correlated with the number of upper respiratory infections reported from health centers. Low temperature also correlated with increased frequency of acute tonsillitis, of lower respiratory tract infection among DCC children, and of absenteeism from day-care centers, schools and workplaces. Furthermore, a significant association was found between levels of sulfur dioxide and absenteeism. After statistical standardization for temperature, no other correlations were observed apart from that between high levels of sulfur dioxide and numbers of upper respiratory tract infections diagnosed at health centers (P = 0.04). When the concentrations of sulfur dioxide were above the mean, the frequency of the upper respiratory tract infections was 15% higher than that during the periods of low concentration. The relative importance of the effects of low-level air pollution and low temperature on health is difficult to assess.
Follow-up of 2400 patients aged 17-84 who had previously had influenza or other acute respiratory diseases documented aggravation of the background illness in 34.1% of them. Because of the aggravation 15.3% of the cases were referred to hospitals. Augmentation of symptoms was primarily observed in chronic nonspecific pulmonary lesions (57.9%), bronchial asthma (30.5%), rheumatic fever (38.1%), peptic ulcer (31.6%), renal (42.7%) and thyroid (42.9%) diseases, climacteric neurosis (31.3%), neurovegetative disorders (61.1%). Typical symptoms and syndromes of aggravated background illnesses, principles of managing combined diseases and of respiratory affections prevention in the above patients are presented.
Daily symptom rates in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and in other subjects with presumed high sensitivity to air pollution who lived near a coal-fired plant were compared with 24-hr ambient air concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, soot, and suspended particles as well as with emissions from the plant. The mean concentrations of each of the pollutants during the 4-month study period were below 30 micrograms/m3, and no single 24-hr concentration exceeded 100 micrograms/m3. There were no consistent associations between plant emissions and pollutant levels or between these two variables and daily symptom rates. The results indicate that the coal-fired plant was not of major importance for the occurrence of acute respiratory symptoms in the surrounding population.
Dental personnel manually handle products that contain monomers. Several studies have documented adverse health effects after exposure to such products. Gloves made of vinyl or latex are easily penetrated by monomers. Ordinary glasses, or visors, do not protect against vapour from polymer products. Dental face masks filter out about 40% of respirable particles. To survey the prevalence of asthma, atopic dermatitis, conjunctivitis, hay fever/rhinitis, and hand eczema among dental personnel, a questionnaire was distributed to all dental teams in Northern Sweden. Referents were researchers, teachers, and secretaries from the same geographical area. The response rate was 76% for dental teams, and 66% for referents. The results show a significantly higher prevalence of conjunctivitis, and atopic dermatitis among dentists, both male and female. Hypersensitivity to dental materials was reported by significantly more dental personnel than by referents.
Existing studies of the association between air pollution, aeroallergens and emergency department (ED) visits have generally examined the effects of a few pollutants or aeroallergens on individual conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In this study, we considered a wide variety of respiratory and cardiac conditions and an extensive set of pollutants and aeroallergens, and utilized prospectively collected information on possible effect modifiers which would not normally be available from purely administrative data. The association between air pollution, aeroallergens and cardiorespiratory ED visits (n = 19,821) was examined for the period 1992 to 1996 using generalized additive models. ED visit, air pollution and aeroallergen time series were prefiltered using LOESS smoothers to minimize temporal confounding, and a parsimonious model was constructed to control for confounding by weather and day of week. Multipollutant and multi-aeroallergen models were constructed using stepwise procedures and sensitivity analyses were conducted by season, diagnosis, and selected individual characteristics or effect modifiers. In single-pollutant models, positive effects of all pollutants but NO2 and COH were observed on asthma visits, and positive effects on all respiratory diagnosis groups were observed for O3, SO2, PM10, PM2.5, and SO4(2-). Among cardiac conditions, only dysrhythmia visits were positively associated with all measures of particulate matter. In the final year-round multipollutant models, a 20.9% increase in cardiac ED visits was attributed to the combination of O3 (16.0%, 95% CI 2.8-30.9) and SO2 (4.9%, 95%CI 1.7-8.2) at the mean concentration of each pollutant. In the final multipollutant model for respiratory visits, O3 accounted for 3.9% of visits (95% CI 0.8-7.2), and SO2 for 3.7% (95% CI 1.5-6.0), whereas a weak, negative association was observed with NO2. In multi-aeroallergen models of warm season asthma ED visits, Ascomycetes, Alternaria and small round fungal spores accounted for 4.5% (95% CI 1.8-7.4), 4.7% (95% CI 1.0-8.6) and 3.0% (95% CI 0.8-5.1), respectively, of visits at their mean concentrations, and these effects were not sensitive to adjustment for air pollution effects. In conclusion, we observed a significant influence of the air pollution mix on cardiac and respiratory ED visits. Although in single-pollutant models, positive associations were noted between ED visits and some measures of particulate matter, in multipollutant models, pollutant gases, particularly ozone, exhibited more consistent effects. Aeroallergens were also significantly associated with warm season asthma ED visits.
A health study was conducted in three communities in the greater Montreal region; the first two were characterized by relatively high particulate and sulfur dioxide levels, respectively, and a third community without major industrial pollution. In each community, 300 men and women 45 to 64 yr of age were studied. Residents of the two more polluted communities exhibited a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms and mean lung function evaluated by various tests was lower than in residents of the less polluted community. When intercity differences in age and smoking were accounted for, no statistically significant intercity differences in health status could be shown. Given the limitations of this study, the results provide no evidence to suggest that current Canadian standards for sulfur dioxide adequately protect human health as measured by the indices used in the study, for adults in the age range of 45 to 64 yr.
The aim of this study has been to explore and compare the mortality of 100 female and 100 male alcoholics, admitted to a department of alcoholic diseases in 1963-69. The patients were early cases and mortality was studied during an observation period of 6-12 years. A total of 18 women and 16 men died. As compared with the general population, mortality was 5.6 and 3.0 times higher than expected for the women and men, respectively. Among the women a significant excess mortality was found for accidents, suicides, diseases of the respiratory system, and especially cirrhosis of the liver. Mortality among the men was significantly higher than expected due to suicides, diseases of the circulatory system, neoplasms, chronic alcoholism, and acute alcohol poisoning. The excess mortality from suicides found for both sexes was highest in the female group. Despite the hitherto rather small number of deaths in the two groups, the high frequency of cirrhosis of the liver among the women is striking.
The increased number of ecological problems in Russia has stimulated the development of methodological approaches to studying a human chemical load under the conditions of an industrial town. The data on mortality in children under 3 years of age, who lived in a developed industrial town, have been analyzed. Comparison of data on ambient air purity and those on the incidence of respiratory disease has established a correlation between environment pollution and the likelihood of diseases in children under the influence of harmful factors.