Posted on Sep 16, 2013, 6 a.m.
Asthma sufferers who are frequently exposed to heavy traffic pollution or smoke from wood fire heaters experience a significant worsening of symptoms.
Affecting over 300 million people worldwide, asthma is a chronic health condition with symptoms that can often elude sufficient management. John Burgess, from the University of Melbourne (Australia), and colleagues utilized data from 1,383 adults, average age 44 years, enrolled in the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study to investigate the associations between ambient wood smoke and two indices of traffic-related air pollution – namely, frequency of heavy vehicles near the home and frequency of intense traffic noise; on current asthma / asthma severity. The team observed that those adults who suffer asthma and were exposed to heavy traffic pollution experienced an 80% increase in symptoms and those exposed to wood smoke from wood fires experienced an 11% increase in symptoms. Observing that: “In middle-aged adults, ambient wood smoke and traffic pollution were associated with increased asthma severity,” the study authors urge for: “Future studies to … examine specific biological mechanisms for this effect.”
DS Bui, JA Burgess, MC Matheson, B Erbas, J Perret, SC Dharmage, et al. “Ambient wood smoke, traffic pollution and adult asthma prevalence and severity.” Respirology; DOI: 10.1111/resp.12108.