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Air Pollution - Impact on Health



Air Pollution: Impact on Health


Rtn. Prof. Dr H Paramesh is co-opted as a member for the committee for preparing a compendium of National air pollution on health representing IISc by the ministry of health and family welfare.


Government of India.

  •      Air Pollution is the risk factor for 8 million death globally 50% of our cities are critically polluted and 13 of the 20 worst global cities are in India.

  •         Particulate matter refers to small solid or liquid particles suspending in the air.

  •       Suspended particles, (SPM – 10, 2.5) are 100 time thinner than hair. Bigger particles come from smoke, dirt, dust from factories, farming, roads, mold, pollens smaller particles come from automobile emissions, burning of garbage, landfills, smelling and processing metals

  •         The Major component of particulate matters in Air pollution are-

  •     Sulphates • Nitrates • Sodium chlorides • Ammonia • Black carbon • Mineral dust

  •      Water content.

  •          Air pollution may not always visible but it can be deadly, as per WHO 45% Lung disease, 29% Lung cancer, 25% Heart disease & 24% Stroke. In them 2.5 micron particle is a silent invisible killer.

  •       Bigger particles deposit on upper respiratory tract and smaller particles (SPM – 2.5 micron) lower respiratory tract and cross the lung tissue in a minutes and enter the bloodstream and circulate all over the body producing various severe diseases by oxidative stress. They have an impact from womb to tomb 30% premature birth and small for date infants.
  •       Diesel vehicles generate 1400 times more particles and we inhale 10 thousand crore particles/day

  •       Bengaluru is moderately polluted 122µ (0-50µ) compared to New Delhi, Varanasi according to Air quality index, Jan 2016.

Impact of particulate air pollution on Health


  •         Respiratory system:

-       Upper respiratory tract:

  • Allergic rhinitis, • Sinusitis • Middle ear infection • Blockage of tear duets
  • Enlarged

       Adenoids • Chronic cough.

  • Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome      (OSAS) • Pharyngitis • Laryngitis • Tracheitis.

- Lower respiratory tract:

  • Chronic cough • Bronchitis • Asthma • Emphysema • Pneumonia • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interstitial pneumonia and fibrosis • Oxygen depenalence • Exercise intolerance.

  •         Cardiovascular:
  • Increase coagulation of blood • Hypertension • Strokes • Heart attacks

  •         Effect on other organs from oxidative stress:
  • Insulin resistant Diabetes • Decrease cognitive function • Attention deficit • Over activity • Autism in children • Dementia • Cancer.

Measures needed to prevent air pollution for good health follow the Ten Commandments.


  •         Quality education of all stakeholders on the disease burden
  •         Reduce air pollution by setting guidelines
  •         Regulate automobile and use of fossil fuels
  •         Find alternative source of energy
  •         Increase greeneries / ocean agriculture
  •         Sustainable cities and communities
  •         Economic burden to policy makers  and budgeting for prevention
  •         Reduce population growth to match need and supply
  •         Legal activism
  •         Encourage fruits, vegetables, traditional food habits for sufferers to overcome oxidative stress

Rtn. Prof. Dr H Paramesh

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