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Revista chilena de enfermedades respiratorias

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7348


OYARZUN G, MANUEL. Air pollution an its effects on health. Rev. chil. enferm. respir. [online]. 2010, vol.26, n.1, pp.16-25. ISSN 0717-7348.

The term “air pollution” comprises a wide variety of chemical and biological components of the outdoor and indoor atmosphere. Air pollution and its effect on human health is critically reviewed in this article with emphasis in the situation of inhabitants of Chilean cities with critical high levels of atmospheric pollution. Atmospheric contaminants that are hazardous for the human health are “breathable” particulate matter (PM10;PM2,5 and PM0,1) and gaseous chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Indoor air contains a variety of noxious compounds derived from multiple sources, being cigarette smoking, heating and cooking appliances, and biological agents and its sub-products the principal ones. Exposure to air pollutants can increase not only morbidity but also mortality rate as well as increasing the number of hospital admissions for patients with respiratory or cardiovascular symptoms. Air pollution is important in determining the quality of life particularly in infants, ageing persons and patients affected by respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Health professionals should advocate for a cleaner outdoor and indoor atmosphere through the dissemination of our knowledge about the respiratory and non-respiratory effects of air contamination.

Palabras clave : Urban air pollution; indoor air pollution; air quality Chilean standards; respiratory system; cardiovascular; airborne particulate matter.

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