Health Risks of Urban Airborne Particles

  • Andreas D. KapposEmail author
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Adverse health effects of airborne particles are of major concern to the public. In the past twenty years numerous epidemiological and laboratory studies established evidence that even small concentrations of particulate matter, common in contemporary cities, give rise to premature deaths and aggravation of chronic bronchopulmonary or cardiovascular diseases. Epidemiology indicates short-term effects caused by exposure to respirable airborne particles like increased number of respiratory and cardiovascular deaths, increased hospital admission for respiratory and cardiovascular reasons, increased number of emergency department visits for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, increased frequency of respiratory symptoms and compromised lung function in children, as well as long-term effects like shortening of life expectancy with higher frequencies of respiratory, cardiovascular or lung cancer deaths, higher frequencies of respiratory symptoms and bronchitis in children, promotion of atherosclerosis and coronary disease, aggravation of cardio-vascular disease, impaired lung growth in children and smaller birth weight of neonates (if exposed during pregnancy). Animal studies give hints to the mechanisms responsible for the effects observed in epidemiology and strengthen their plausibility. The production of reactive oxygen species by particles in contact with epithelial and cellular surfaces in the bronchial tree and the lung is considered to be the first step to generate local and systemic inflammation.


Heart Rate Variability Force Vital Capacity Peak Expiratory Flow Airborne Particle Ultrafine Particle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Frankfurt am Main, HamburgGermany

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