The non-occupational environment and the lung: opportunities for intervention.
Kurmi OP., Ayres JG.
Many environmental factors, both indoors and outdoors, can cause or worsen respiratory disease. Although in many cases individuals have little influence over environmental exposures (e.g., weather conditions), there are many (such as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and outdoor air pollution) where interventions can improve health. While for environmental exposures such as air pollution, remediation largely devolves to the government, for exposures such as ETS advice to individuals in these settings will confer benefit. Climate change has begun to feature more and more in the context of health but how this may affect pulmonary disease remains debatable. It is possible that heat associated changes in allergen exposures may be more than counterbalanced by potential reductions in cold related exacerbations of diseases such as COPD. An improved assessment of environmental exposures is key in how we approach the effects of the environment on lung disease which would allow better understanding of gene-environment interactions and how remediation might influence population health for the better.