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Clearing the Air: A Review of the Effects of Particulate Matter Air Pollution on Human Health - Essay Example

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The authors recognized that the World Health Organization had associated particulate matter air pollution with over 800,000 deaths on an annual…
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Clearing the Air: A Review of the Effects of Particulate Matter Air Pollution on Human Health
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A Review of the Effects of Particulate Matter Air Pollution on Human Health A Review of the Effects of Particulate Matter AirPollution on Human Health
Anderson, Thundiyil, and Stolbach (2012) carried out a review of the effects of particulate matter air pollution on human health. The authors recognized that the World Health Organization had associated particulate matter air pollution with over 800,000 deaths on an annual basis. Therefore, the authors carried out a review to determine whether there was an association between particulate matter air pollution and human diseases. Their article sought to highlight the effects of ambient airborne particulate matter on the prevalence of human morbidity as well as mortality. The authors sought to analyze some of the mechanisms involved in the association between particulate matter air pollution and human morbidity. Based on their findings, the authors also sought to highlight some recommendations for public health about the adverse effects of particulate matter. The authors relied on a systematic review approach, which gives attention to existing literature. In their systematic review, the authors considered literature published in the last 30 years. As mentioned above, they sought to identify literature that highlighted the association between particulate matter and human health.
The authors carried out a search on PubMed database using the search word (PM, air pollution, coarse particles, ultrafine particles, and fine particles). The authors selected the most relevant articles ensuring that there was a balance between both positive and negative studies. The literature review gave preference to epidemiological investigations as well as well-conducted trials. The authors used a thematic framework in the synthesis of evidence in the identified articles. Therefore, they identified articles that talked about the particulate matter and cardiovascular health effects, particulate matter and respiratory health effects, and particulate matter and cerebrovascular health effects. Under each of these themes, the authors gave specific attention to both short-term and long-term effects, the prevalence of morbidity, mortality rates, the mechanisms involved, health care utilization and medication usage. Since the study focused on a systematic review, the authors sought to discuss their findings after highlighting the main themes evident in the articles (p. 169). There were no statistical tests used in the study. However, the researchers compared the findings highlighted in the selected literature to draw their conclusions.
Findings from the systematic review highlighted that particulate matter has significant effects on the human cardiovascular system. There was evidence of both long-term and short-term effects on the cardiovascular system while some studies discussed the mechanisms involved. Out of the ten articles reviewed for the particulate matter and cardiovascular health effects, seven of them suggested that the particulate matter had the capacity to cause mortality in the long term. Additionally, particulate matter resulted in hospital admission in the short-term after it affected the cardiovascular system. In some cases, mortality was one of the short-term effects. The literature review also highlighted that particulate matter affected the respiratory system compelling affected individuals to register increased health care utilization as well as medication usage. In children, particulate matter affected lung development. Many of the previous studies highlighted that particulate matter resulted in respiratory admissions due to issues such as pneumonia, asthma, bronchiolitis, and other respiratory diseases. Other studies highlighted that mortality results from the effect of particulate matter in the respiratory system. Particulate matter also affected the cerebrovascular system, causing both morbidity and mortality. Evidently, the authors were able to address their research questions effectively and provide reliable information concerning the effects of particulate matter on human health. The work is of critical significance, as it will define public health policies in the future. Many of the studies reviewed supported the views of other researchers that particulate matter air pollution can have adverse effects on the health of human beings (p. 173).
Reference
Anderson, J. O., Thundiyil, J. G., & Stolbach, A. (2012). Clearing the air: a review of the effects of particulate matter air pollution on human health. Journal of Medical Toxicology: Official Journal of The American College of Medical Toxicology, 8(2), 166-175. doi:10.1007/s13181-011-0203-1. Read More
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