Long-term “nitrogen dioxide”(NO2) exposure affects lungs: Study

What is the News?

According to a study, Long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide(NO2) pollution can affect lung function. Also, NO2 can increase the risk of pulmonary disease.

Key Findings:

  • The annual maximum NO2 exposure recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 21.3 parts per billion.
  • The study found that air pollution exposures in some parts of the survey area exceeded this figure.
  • Further, healthy individuals (mostly from low-income, urban communities) suffered a decline in lung function due to air pollution.
About the Study:
  • The study happened over a period of five years in Mysore, Karnataka. It is conducted from 2012-2014 to 2017-2018
  • The researchers conducted in-home field spirometry (lung function test). They conducted this test before and after bronchodilation (expansion of the bronchial air passages).
  • Most of the participants in the study used Liquified Petroleum Gas(LPG) cylinders provided under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
About Nitrogen Dioxide(NO2):
  • Nitrogen Dioxide(NO2) belongs to one of the highly reactive gases known as oxides of nitrogen or nitrogen oxides (NOx). Other nitrogen oxides include nitrous acid and nitric acid.
  • Formation: NO2 is formed when fossil fuels like coal, oil, gas and diesel are burned at high temperatures. It is also formed during the burning of wood and natural gases.

Effects of NO2

 Health effects

  • Breathing air with a high concentration of NO2 can irritate airways in the human respiratory system. Such exposures can aggravate respiratory diseases particularly asthma.
  • NO2 along with other NOx reacts with other chemicals in the air to form both particulate matter and ozone. Both of these are also harmful to the respiratory system.
Environmental effects:
  • NO2 and other NOx interact with water, oxygen and other chemicals in the atmosphere and form acid rain. Acid rain harms sensitive ecosystems such as lakes and forests.
  • The nitrate particles make the air hazy and create visibility challenges.
  • NOx in the atmosphere contributes to nutrient pollution in coastal waters.

Source: Down To Earth

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