Essay on Relationships between Asthma and Air Pollution

Essay on Relationships between Asthma and Air Pollution

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Relationships between Asthma and Air Pollution

Professor’s comment: This student’s research paper synthesizes the results of a well-selected group of articles that explore relationships between asthma and air pollution. That laboratory science is at base a social enterprise is nicely exemplified by the focus of the studies she reviews. In drawing from the articles she reviews and in organizing her paper, the student maintains a good balance between discussing air-borne pollutants themselves and their physical effects, between analysis and implication. The result is a readable and interesting explanation of current work on this increasingly important subject.


While air pollution is currently controlled nationwide under the Clean Air Act and mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air pollution levels that do not exceed those set by the EPA have been shown to be associated with an increased incidence of respiratory diseases, such as asthma. One indication that air pollution has affected acute asthma is the increase in hospital admissions above the normal annual trend that occurred in 1991 and 1994, an increase that coincided with increased air pollution and heavy haze due to forest fires and volcano eruptions near the study’s location (Chew et al., 1999). Further analysis conducted by Chew et al. (1999) suggests that these air pollutants also have influenced acute asthma beyond the episodes of increased air pollution. This finding has important implications for the growing number of asthma sufferers who are continually being exposed to rising concentrations of air pollutants.

Because most of the population is exposed to air pollution and because there are ways to reduce pollutant le...

... middle of paper ...

... Research 80, 110–121.

Neukirch, F., Segala, C., Moullec, Y.L., Korobaeff, M., Aubier, M. (1998). Short-term effects of low-level winter pollution on respiratory health of asthmatic adults. Archives of Environmental Health 53(5), 320–328.

Ostro, B., Chestnut, L. (1998). Assessing the health benefits of reducing particulate matter air pollution in the United States. Environmental Research 76, 94–106.

Sheppard, L., Levy, D., Norris, G., Larson, T.V., Koenig, J.Q. (1999). Effects of ambient air pollution on nonelderly asthma hospital admissions in Seattle, Washington, 1987–1994. Epidemiology 10(1), 23–30.

Taggart, S.C.O., Custovic, A., Francis, H.C., Faragher, E.B., Yates, C.J., Higgins, B.G., Woodcock, A. (1996). Asthmatic bronchial hyperresponsiveness varies with ambient levels of summertime air pollution. European Respiratory Journal 9(6), 1146–1154.

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