Saturday, May 21, 2005

Striking Air Pollution Results

Health effects of inhaled particles are more easily observed among non smokers than smokers, because of lower non-pollution related exposures. This makes Utah a prime venue for study. Papers reviewed below were early data regarding inadequacy of current EPA particulate limits.

Utah Valley residents are predominantly nonsmoking members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The area has moderately high average PM10 levels with periods of highly elevated PM10 concentrations due to local emissions being trapped in a stagnant air mass near the valley floor during low-level temperature inversion episodes. [The cited paper doesn't contain the exposure levels; the paper heavily references others which contain these data.] Due to a labor dispute, there was intermittent operation of the single largest pollution source, an old integrated steel mill. Levels of other common pollutants including sulfur dioxide, ozone, and acidic aerosol are relatively low. Studies specific to Utah Valley have observed that elevated PM10 concentrations are associated with: (1) decreased lung function; (2) increased incidence of respiratory symptoms; (3) increased school absenteeism; (4) increased respiratory hospital admissions; and (5) increased mortality, especially respiratory and cardiovascular mortality.


Toxicology. 1996 Jul 17;111(1-3):149-55.

Adverse health effects of air pollutants in a nonsmoking population.

Pope CA 3rd.
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA.

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