New York, April 7 (IANS) Increased level of air pollution can have detrimental effects on people suffering from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, revealed a review of multiple studies.Exposure to each small (1 gram per cubic metre) increase in long-term fine inhalable particle (PM2.5) was associated with an 8 per cent increase in mortality during the pandemic, said researchers in the commentary, published online in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society.The team, led by Stephen Andrew Mein, from the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, US, examined published research that discussed whether air pollution may be linked to worse Covid-19 outcomes, as well the relationship between pollution, respiratory viruses and health disparities.They found that air pollution contributed to 15 per cent of Covid-19 mortality worldwide.Exposure to ambient air pollution -- harmful pollutants, such as small particles and toxic gases, emitted by industries, households, cars and trucks -- was found to worsen viral respiratory infections."The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the widespread health consequences of ambient air pollution, including acute effects on respiratory immune defences and chronic effects that lead to higher risk of chronic cardiopulmonary disease and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)," Mein said.These chronic health effects likely explain the higher Covid-19 mortality among those exposed to more air pollution.Earlier, a study led by German researchers found that elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air may be associated with a high number of deaths from novel coronavirus (Covid-19).Similar findings by researchers at the Harvard University also noted that even a small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diametre of 2.5 micrometres or less, can lead to a large increase in the death rate from Covid-19.While the exact mechanisms are not fully known, scientists suggest that long-term exposure to air pollution may impair the immune system, leading to both increased susceptibility to viruses and more severe viral infections.It is also associated with higher rates of heart disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, a known risk factors for severe disease and death from Covid-19.The findings highlight the urgent need to address the global problem of air pollution through sustainable local and national policies to improve respiratory health and equity worldwide.--IANSrvt/vd
Chandigarh, April 5 (IANS) Concerned over the rising air pollution and its severe health impact on the people of Punjab, medical practitioners of the Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali tricity came together for a health convention held here on Monday.The convention, which was organised keeping in mind the World Health Day on April 7, aimed at bringing medical practitioners together on a common platform to draw attention to the health cost of air pollution and the urgent need for mitigation. The convention was organised by Clean Air Punjab -- a collective of individuals and organisations working on the issue of air pollution along with the Lung Care Foundation and Doctors for Clean Air. Senior doctors comprising Zafar Ahmad of the Department of Pulmonology, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine in Fortis Hospital, Vanita Gupta, IMA President (Chandigarh), Preeti Arun Joint Director, GRIID, Reena Jain, clinic in charge, GRIID, Diljot Singh Bedi, Consultant Paediatrics and Neonatology with Fortis, and Wasim Ahmad Assistant Professor (Intellectual Disability) with GRIID were part of the panel. The engaging discussion highlighted the pressing need for action on air quality, both in terms of awareness and education as well as to try and take active measures to reduce the risks of air pollution on health.According to Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Survey 2019, air pollution was responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in Punjab in 2019. There are nine non-attainment cities in Punjab and six of these have one real-time monitoring station each. During winter 2020, daily averages of PM2.5 concentrations were as high as 180 ug/m3 (three times the permissible limit) on some days. Arvind Kumar, Chest Surgeon, Founder and Managing Trustee with Lung Care Foundation and doctors for Clean Air said that air pollution is a serious health hazard affecting the entire country. "With 22 out of 30 polluted cities of the world being in India, the health risk faced by the citizens is immense. Various Indian and global reports put the number of deaths caused due to air pollution in India in millions," he said. "In India, indoor air pollution also poses threat accounting for over two million deaths, 44 per cent due to pneumonia, 54 per cent due to COPD and two per cent due to lung cancer. Children, adolescent, women and elderly are the vulnerable group for respiratory morbidity and mortality," said Zafar Ahmad.Vanita Gupta highlighted that air pollutants damage the skin by inducing oxidative stress. "Though human skin acts as a biological shield against pro-oxidative chemicals and physical air pollutants, prolonged or repetitive exposure to high levels of these pollutants may have profound negative effects on the skin." "Exposure to ultraviolet radiation has been associated with extrinsic skin ageing and skin cancers," she said.The doctors on the panel said this convening also provided them with a platform to call for support from other doctors across the country, which will help in strengthening the network of regional doctors across India as every city in India was impacted by air pollution.--IANS vg/ash
Kathmandu- The Nepal government on Monday announced it was shutting all educational institutions for the next four days owing to the severe deterioration of air quality in the recent period.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said that the increasing levels of air pollution could adversely affect the children's health.
A meeting, chaired by Education Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha, took the decision to close down all education institutions owing to the rising air pollution and its possible impact on children's health, according to a statement issued by the Ministry.
Nepal is experiencing a serious spike in air pollution, with thick smoke blotting the skyline across the country since Wednesday and this also affected flights. Almost all national and international flights have been cancelled since Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health has already cautioned people with breathing ailments and others medical conditions not to leave the house due to the rising air pollution.
Kathmandu and other major cities of Nepal have seen the massive deterioration of air quality since Wednesday as smoke and haze continuing to cover the skies.
Environmentalists said that ranging wildfires as well as vehicle emissions have been causing the rising air pollution across the country.
As many as 480 wildfires have reported across Nepal, according to the Ministry of Forest and Environment, as a result of which dense smog has settled over a major part of central Nepal and the air quality in major cities of the region is getting worse day by day.
The wildfire season in Nepal begins sometime between November and December and continues until the onset of the monsoon. The last week of April is considered the peak season for forest fires.
On Friday, Kathmandu was listed as the world's most polluted city in terms of air quality.
Meteorologists say that it would take a few more days for the air to become clear and breathable. (IANS)
New York, March 6 (IANS) Fine particles in wildfire smoke can be several times more harmful to human respiratory health than particulate matter from other sources such as car exhaust, say researchers.While this distinction has been previously identified in laboratory experiments, the new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, confirms it at the population level.This study reveals the risks of tiny airborne particles with diameters of up to 2.5 microns, about one-twentieth that of a human hair.These particles -- termed PM2.5 -- are the main component of wildfire smoke and can penetrate the human respiratory tract, enter the bloodstream and impair vital organs."There is a daily threshold for the amount of PM2.5 in the air that is considered acceptable by the county and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," said researcher Rosana Aguilera from University of California - San Diego."The problem with this standard is that it doesn't account for different sources of emission of PM2.5," Aguilera added.To isolate wildfire-produced PM2.5 from other sources of particulate pollution, the researchers defined exposure to wildfire PM2.5 as exposure to strong Santa Ana winds with fire upwind. A second measure of exposure involved smoke plume data from NOAA's Hazard Mapping System.A 10 microgram-per-cubic meter increase in PM2.5 attributed to sources other than wildfire smoke was estimated to increase respiratory hospital admissions by 1 per cent. The same increase, when attributed to wildfire smoke, caused between a 1.3 to 10 per cent increase in respiratory admissions.The research suggests that assuming all particles of a certain size are equally toxic may be inaccurate and that the effects of wildfires -- even at a distance -- represent a pressing human health concern.--IANSvc/sdr/
New York, Feb 22 (IANS) Long-term exposure to low levels of air pollution can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation and pneumonia among people ages 65 and older, new research has warned.Air pollution can cause harm to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems due to its effect on inflammation in the heart and throughout the body, said the study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation."People should be conscious of the air quality in the region where they live to avoid harmful exposure over long periods of time, if possible," said Mahdieh Danesh Yazdi, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of the study."Air pollution should be considered as a risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory disease by clinicians, and policy makers should reconsider current standards for air pollutants."Researchers examined hospitalization records for more than 63 million Medicare enrollees in the US from 2000 to 2016 to assess how long-term exposure to air pollution impacts hospital admissions for specific cardiovascular and respiratory issues.The study measured three components of air pollution: fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3).The researchers calculated the study participants' exposure to the pollutants based upon their residential zip code.Additional analysis included the impact of the average yearly amounts of each of the pollutants on hospitalization rates for non-fatal heart attacks, ischemic strokes, atrial fibrillation and flutter, and pneumonia.Statistical analyses found thousands of hospital admissions were attributable to air pollution per year."The risks for heart attacks, strokes, atrial fibrillation and flutter, and pneumonia were associated with long-term exposure to particulate matter," the findings showed.Data also showed there were surges in hospital admissions for all of the health outcomes studied with each additional unit of increase in particulate matter.Specifically, stroke rates increased by 2,536 for each additional ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) increase in fine particulate matter each year.There was an increased risk of stroke and atrial fibrillation associated with long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide.Pneumonia was the only health outcome in the study that seemed impacted by long-term exposure to ozone; however, researchers note there are currently no national guidelines denoting safe or unsafe long-term ozone levels."When we restricted our analyses to individuals who were only exposed to lower concentrations of air pollution, we still found increased risk of hospital admissions with all of the studied outcomes, even at concentration levels below current national standards," added Yazdi.--IANSna/rt
New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) : The air quality of the national capital mounted to 'very poor' category, with the hourly average air quality index at 332 micrograms per cubic meter on Saturday due to low wind speed.
According to Ministry of Earth Sciences's System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, "Surface winds are low. The ventilation is likely to stay in the same range and no significant change in AQI is expected for the next couple of days."
AQI , likely to marginally improve to lower end of very poor to poor category, is forecasted for February 15 and 16, the forecast further stated. AQI within the limit of 0-5 is regarded as good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 very poor and 401-500 is considered severe.
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) officials have advised sensitive groups to avoid physical outdoor activities. Other people have been advised to avoid prolonged exertion and keep windows closed.
"Stop any activity level if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty, or fatigue. Keep the room clean - do not vacuum. Masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators may only help if you go out," stated SAFAR.
Delhi's neighbouring regions - Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, and Gurugram also logged very poor quality of air. The air quality of Ghaziabad is, however, the worst at 401 micrograms per cubic meter.
Earlier today, a thick layer of fog engulfing parts of the city and affecting the visibility. Delhi Airport in a statement said that due to fog, low visibility procedures were in progress, however, all flight operations are normal.
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