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Culturally sensitive research in United Arab Emirates pinpoints indoor air quality risks
Date:5/9/2012

>Researchers compared the results to households without significant pollutant levels and discovered family members in homes with measurable sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydrogen sulfide were twice as likely to have doctor-diagnosed asthma. The team also found an increased prevalence of wheezing, including symptoms that limited speech, with these same pollutants. Neurological difficulties, such as difficulty concentrating, were loosely linked to quantifiable exposure of formaldehyde.

UAE households also were exposed to pollutants not found as frequently in the United States, specifically incense. Roughly 86 percent of UAE homes burn incense at least once a week, and formaldehyde levels are three times higher among those households that do so more frequently. Family members in these homes are more likely to report headaches, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating.

'Burning incense in this region of the world is an important cultural practice, but I do think there are things people can do to reduce exposure," Yeatts said. "People can reduce their exposure by opening windows, burning incense for a shorter time or burning smaller amounts."

Ultimately, Yeatts said, researchers hope the data collection and analysis will help improve public health knowledge in the UAE and support campaigns to limit exposures and risks associated with indoor air pollutants.


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Contact: Mike McFarland
mike_mcfarland@unc.edu
919-962-8593
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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