What is air pollution?
Air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.1
Air pollutants in the form of Particulate matter are mixtures of solid and liquid particles suspended in air. There are other gases and chemicals that contribute to air pollutants.3
Household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities & forest fires are common sources of air pollution.1
Pollutants of major public health concern include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide & sulfur dioxide.1
WHO data show that almost all of the global population (99%) breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits & contains high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures.1
How does air pollution impact health?
Outdoor & indoor air pollution cause respiratory & other diseases and are important sources of morbidity & mortality.1
Poor air quality can irritate the eyes, nose, & throat, cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma & other respiratory conditions.2
Multiple studies worldwide have shown an association of particulate matter exposure & asthma, , & sensitization.3
Increased allergic symptoms, reduced lung function, & increased sensitization to common aeroallergens is noted in those living in close proximity to roads (about 100 m) & high traffic density.3
Urban outdoor air pollution is responsible for 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year & is observed to increase the risk of developing respiratory conditions including Allergic rhinitis, asthma, & chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.4