Long-term exposure to air pollution was linked to increases in emphysema between 2000 and 2018, according to a new study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), both part of the National Institutes of Health. Emphysema, usually associated with cigarette smoking, is a chronic disease in which lung tissue is destroyed and unable to effectively transfer oxygen in the body. The study is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

“These findings may offer one explanation for why emphysema is found in some people who never smoked,” said James Kiley, Ph.D., NHLBI’s director of the Division of Lung Diseases. “The study’s results, duration, and timing offer insight into the long-term effects of air pollution on the U.S. population.”


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Cite this article as: Cooper DM, Loxham M. Particulate matter and the airway epithelium: the special case of the underground? Eur Respir Rev 2019; 28: 190066          https://doi.org/10.1183/16000617.0066-2019].