Smog Increases Risk of Pneumonia in Elders

Long-term exposure (1-2 years) to vehicle emissions appears to raise the risk of community-acquired pneumonia in those 65 and older. A Canadian study examined the results of exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from vehicles, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) and fine particulates from industry. Those elders exposed to NO2 and fine particulates had at least 2.3 times the risk of hospitalization for pneumonia, while exposure to SO2 did not increase this risk. The history of smoking and occupational exposures where controlled for as possible confounders. The researchers postulate this increased risk may be due to impairment of the function of pulmonary alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells.

PositiveTip: When ever possible, reduce long-term exposure to vehicle emissions and fine particulates.