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Particulate Air Pollution: Possible Relevance in Asthma

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The relative importance of air pollution in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma has been of interest for several decades. Numerous studies on the role of gaseous air pollution containing ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide have been published. Very little attention has been focused on the role of respirable particles in the causation of asthma. In this article we summarize some of our ongoing investigations into the sources and composition of airborne particles in the Los Angeles and Pasadena atmosphere, including the search for biologically active particles that may induce asthma attacks. It is found that the urban atmosphere contains not only combustion-derived particles from diesel engine exhaust and gasoline-powered motor vehicle exhaust, but also particles formed from biological starting materials including plant debris, cigarette smoke, wood smoke, and meat smoke as well as tire debris containing some natural rubber and paved road dust. Paved road dust is a very complex mixture of particles including garden soil, tire dust, plant fragments, redeposited atmospheric particles of all types, and pollen fragments presumably ground up by passing traffic. We have shown previously that latex allergen can be extracted from tire dust, from roadside dust, and from respirable air samples taken at Los Angeles and Long Beach. At present, work is underway to identify the larger range of allergens that may be contributed by the entrainment of paved road dust into the atmosphere. The possible importance of pollen fragments present in paved road dust in very small particle sizes is discussed as well as their potential relevance in asthma.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1997

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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