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Air Pollution Reducing Effectiveness Of Rescue Inhalers

December 29, 2009

Findings show that air pollution is effecting the rescue inhalers people use for quick relief of asthma, according to a recent Reuters report.

A study was done on 85 asthmatic children living in Mexico City, ages 7 to 12, to see whether outdoor air pollution had any impact on how well their rescue inhalers worked. Traffic pollution is usually very high in this area.

Fifty-three of the children had mild intermittent asthma, 20 had mild persistent asthma, and 12 had moderate persistent asthma.

Dr. Fernando Holguin, at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and colleagues found that higher levels of certain air pollutants, specifically nitrogen dioxide and ozone, made the rescue inhalers less effective – not because the devices didn’t function properly, but because the children did not seem to respond as well to the medication.

Among the 25 children in the study who regularly used inhaled corticosteroids to help control persistent asthma, the rescue inhalers provided more effective quick relief.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, current nitrogen dioxide levels in the U.S. average from 10 to 20 parts per billion.

Holguin said these findings are consistent with other studies. Nonetheless, his group notes the need for further, larger-scale investigations to confirm their findings.

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