Personal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and self-reported asthma-related health

McCarron, Amy; Semple, Sean; Braban, Christine F. ORCID:; Gillespie, Colin; Swanson, Vivien; Price, Heather D.. 2023 Personal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and self-reported asthma-related health [in special issue: International Medical Geography Symposium 2022] Social Science & Medicine, 337, 116293. 9, pp.

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•PM2.5 (fine particulate matter ≤2.5 μm in diameter) is a key pollutant that can produce acute asthma exacerbations and longer-term deterioration of respiratory health. Individual exposure to PM2.5 is unique and varies across microenvironments. Low-cost sensors (LCS) can collect data at a spatiotemporal resolution previously unattainable, allowing the study of exposures across microenvironments. The aim of this study is to investigate the acute effects of personal exposure to PM2.5 on self-reported asthma-related health. •Twenty-eight non-smoking adults with asthma living in Scotland collected PM2.5 personal exposure data using LCS. Measurements were made at a 2-min time resolution for a period of 7 days as participants conducted their typical daily routines. Concurrently, participants were asked to keep a detailed time-activity diary, logging their activities and microenvironments, along with hourly information on their respiratory health and medication use. Health outcomes were modelled as a function of hourly PM2.5 concentration (plus 1- and 2-h lag) using generalized mixed-effects models adjusted for temperature and relative humidity. •Personal exposures to PM2.5 varied across microenvironments, with the largest average microenvironmental exposure observed in private residences (11.5 ± 48.6 μg/m3) and lowest in the work microenvironment (2.9 ± 11.3 μg/m3). The most frequently reported asthma symptoms, wheezing, chest tightness and cough, were reported on 3.4%, 1.6% and 1.6% of participant-hours, respectively. The odds of reporting asthma symptoms increased per interquartile range (IQR) in PM2.5 exposure (odds ratio (OR) 1.29, 95% CI 1.07–1.54) for same-hour exposure. Despite this, no association was observed between reliever inhaler use (non-routine, non-exercise related) and PM2.5 exposure (OR 1.02, 95% CI 0.71–1.48). •Current air quality monitoring practices are inadequate to detect acute asthma symptom prevalence resulting from PM2.5 exposure; to detect these requires high-resolution air quality data and health information collected in situ. Personal exposure monitoring could have significant implications for asthma self-management and clinical practice.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0277-9536
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: personal exposure, asthma, fine particulate matter, air pollution, Scotland
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 25 Oct 2023 12:30 +0 (UTC)

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