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Scripta Scientifica Medica

Characteristics of respiratory functions and physical capacity in children living under conditions of low-degree air pollution

T. Turnovska, B. Marinov, St. Mandadjieva


Introduction: Air pollution has considerably decreased in many of the urbanized territories in Europe in the last 10 to 15 years, as compared to its levels in the middle of the previous century. This is the reason why nowadays the indicators morbidity and mortality, widely used at the time to assess health, are not effective enough. Under the contemporary conditions of lower concentrations of air pollutants, much more precise methods are required to characterize the consequences of air pollution for the health. The aim of the present study was to analyze respiratory functions and physical capacity in children living under conditions of low degree air pollution.

Methods: In 2004 we carried out a complete functional study of respiration and a cardiopulmonary exercise testing among 93 children (50 boys/43 girls) aged 13.36±0.53 (X±SD) years. According to data of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water Resources, the latter live at air pollutant levels which are under or a little above the maximum admissible concentrations. Results: The mean annual concentrations of controlled pollutants were: (X±SE): TSPM (mg/m3) - 0.13±0.035, SO2 (mg/m3) - 29.70±7.757, NO2 (mg/m3) - 10.76±0.791, H2S (mg/m3) - 0.05±0.020, Pb (mg/m3) - 0.06±0.009, NH3 (mg/m3) - 0.02±0.010.

Results: No deviations were observed in the mean values of the functional indices analyzed, which were over 40 in number, with regard to the referent levels for the respective age and sex (X±SD): VC - 3.50±0.62 L, FVC - 3.43±0.63 L, FEV1 - 3.14±0.56 L, Tiffneau - 89.79±5.18%, etc. The individual assessment showed lower values for some indices (predominantly in the boys) - TLCpred under 90% (81.6÷89.8%), MEF50pred under 70% (58.1÷65.6%), MHF25pred under 60% (34.7÷53.4), TLCOpred under 80% (62.6÷79.9), etc.

Conclusions: No pathologic changes were observed in the external breathing and physical capacity of the majority of the children studied, although in the more susceptible ones low degree air pollution caused reduction in some indices. The study of external breathing and physical capacity are adequate methods for health assessment of the influence of low degree pollution.

Scripta Scientifica Medica 2009; 41(1): 81-84.

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About The Authors

T. Turnovska
Medical University of Plovdiv

B. Marinov
Medical University of Plovdiv

St. Mandadjieva
Medical University of Plovdiv

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