Members of low-income households more vulnerable to air pollution’s impact & COPD

air pollution’s impact

Research has suggested that for members of lower-income households, air pollution has twice the impact on lung function as compared to high or middle-income households. Also, the risk of developing the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is increased by three times.

Scientists from universities in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Switzerland studied the data of more than 300 thousand people who were between ages 30 to 69, who enrolled in the United Kingdom Biobank study whether the exposure to  NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), PM 2.5 & PM10 was associated with changes in lung function.

In addition to this, they wanted to find out whether it affected the risk of participants developing the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which according to the Global Burden of Disease project is the third main cause of death all over the world.

The research was published yesterday i.e. 9th July in the European Respiratory Journal & unveils a wide disparity in how the air pollution impacts on people who are from different economic backgrounds.

The gap was put down by researches down to poorer diet or housing conditions, poor access to healthcare or the long-term effects of poverty impacting lung growth in childhood.

They also mentioned that people from low-income households are more likely to have worked in any outdoor or factory jobs which have already reduced their lung function.

But, it was said that there is a need to do further research to find out the differences in effects between people from various income households as they were unable to track participants’ exposure to pollutants throughout a regular day.

It was also found out by researchers that for people living in areas with PM2.5 concentrations above WHO annual average guidelines of 10 micrograms per cubic meter, COPD prevalence was 4 times higher than among people who were exposed to passive smoking at home, and prevalence was 1/2 that of people who have ever been a smoker.