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Combined Effect of Hot Weather and Outdoor Air Pollution on Respiratory Health: Literature Review

Published: 19 June 2021
 by  MDPI
Atmosphere , Volume 12; doi:10.3390/atmos12060790

Abstract: Association between short-term exposure to ambient air pollution and respiratory health is well documented. At the same time, it is widely known that extreme weather events intrinsically exacerbate air pollution impact. Particularly, hot weather and extreme temperatures during heat waves (HW) significantly affect human health, increasing risks of respiratory mortality and morbidity. Concurrently, a synergistic effect of air pollution and high temperatures can be combined with weather–air pollution interaction during wildfires. The purpose of the current review is to summarize literature on interplay of hot weather, air pollution, and respiratory health consequences worldwide, with the ultimate goal of identifying the most dangerous pollution agents and vulnerable population groups. A literature search was conducted using electronic databases Web of Science, Pubmed, Science Direct, and Scopus, focusing only on peer-reviewed journal articles published in English from 2000 to 2021. The main findings demonstrate that the increased level of PM10 and O3 results in significantly higher rates of respiratory and cardiopulmonary mortality. Increments in PM2.5 and PM10, O3, CO, and NO2 concentrations during high temperature episodes are dramatically associated with higher admissions to hospital in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, daily hospital emergency transports for asthma, acute and chronic bronchitis, and premature mortality caused by respiratory disease. Excessive respiratory health risk is more pronounced in elderly cohorts and small children. Both heat waves and outdoor air pollution are synergistically linked and are expected to be more serious in the future due to greater climate instability, being a crucial threat to global public health that requires the responsible involvement of researchers at all levels. Sustainable urban planning and smart city design could significantly reduce both urban heat islands effect and air pollution.
Keywords: air pollution / extremely hot weather / heat waves / combined effect / respiratory health / wildfires / urban heat island

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