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Even healthy lungs labor at acceptable ozone levels
Date:7/23/2009

air quality standard, healthy people may experience decreased lung function after just a few hours of moderate to light exercise such as bicycling or walking," said Dr. Schelegle. "While these changes were fully reversible within several hours, these findings highlight the need to study susceptible individuals, such as asthmatics, at similar ozone concentrations and durations of exposure. These studies are needed to better understand the acute rise in hospitalizations that often occur in conjunction with high-ozone periods."

The study also supports the previously reported smooth dose-response curve associated with ozone. That is, the higher the level of ozone, the greater the decrease in lung function. However, the healthy subjects in the study showed a marked individual variability in their responses to ozone, with a few exhibiting strong sensitivity to ozone concentrations. What causes some individuals to respond strongly while others do not is still unknown.

"Schelegle and colleagues do not, nor did they seek to explain the determinants of susceptibility in young, healthy adults," noted James S. Brown, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in an accompanying editorial. "Only with continued research efforts will we be able to better characterize the susceptibility in some healthy individuals, to the effects of short-term ozone exposures."

Dr. Schelegle also notes the need for further research to further elucidate the precise mechanisms that determine an individual's ozone responsiveness in both healthy and susceptible populations. "Understanding how these mechanisms change with repeated daily exposures is critical, especially as ambient ozone levels are often elevated several days in a row," Dr. Schelegle said.


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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