Poor indoor air quality can significantly worsen health problems in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), according to researchers in Scotland. High concentrations of fine particulate pollutionthe type of pollution associated with secondhand smoke and, in developing countries, indoor cooking and heating fires were strongly linked to poorer health status.
While the exacerbating effects of outdoor pollutants on COPD patients have been well-documented, few studies have analyzed the impact of indoor air quality on COPD patients. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the fifth worldwide, according to lead investigator Liesl M. Osman, Ph.D.
Although exposure to outdoor pollution is important, most people spend the greater part of their time indoors, wrote Dr. Osman in the article that appears in the first issue for September of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.
Dr. Osman and a team of researchers in Aberdeen, Scotland, measured concentrations of indoor air pollutants in the homes of 148 Scottish patients who had mild to severe COPD. Over the course of a week, they took samples of particulate matter up to 2.5g (PM2.5) every five minutes, sampled indoor endotoxin concentrations and measured indoor NO2 with passive samplers. Recorded data on concentrations of outdoor PM2.5 were also collected from a nearby monitoring station.
The study participants completed the St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) to assess their symptoms, activity limitation and the impact of their disease. Each subject was also asked about their current smoking status, which was verified by salivary cotinine levels.
The researchers found that indoor concentrations of particulate pollution in the subjects homes frequently exceeded standards for outdoor air. In at least one instance, the highest concentration of a home was more
|Contact: Suzy Martin|
American Thoracic Society