Effects of prolonged, repeated exposure to ozone, sulfuric acid, and their combination in healthy and asthmatic volunteers
Linn, W.S.; Shamoo, D.A.; Anderson, K.R.; Peng, R.C.; Avol, E.L.; Hackney, J.D.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 150(2): 431-440
ISSN/ISBN: 1073-449X PMID: 8049826 DOI: 10.1164/ajrccm.150.2.8049826
To evaluate effects of "acid summer haze" on individuals who exercise extensively outdoors, we exposed 45 adult volunteers (15 normal or atopic, 30 asthmatic) in a chamber to a mixture of 0.12 ppm ozone (O3) and approximately 100 micrograms/m3 of respirable sulfuric acid aerosol (H2SO4). On separate occasions we exposed the same subjects to O3 alone, to H2SO4 alone, and to clean air. In exposures involving H2SO4, excess acid was generated to consume ammonia released by the subjects, and the aerosol therefore contained ammonium salts in addition to H2SO4. Subjects were exposed to each atmosphere on two successive days, for 6.5 h/d, with six 50-min exercise periods at ventilation rates averaging 29 L/min. Exposures were conducted during four successive weeks, in random order. Lung function and symptoms were measured before exposure and hourly during exposure. Bronchial reactivity to inhaled methacholine was measured just after the end of each exposure. Exposure to H2SO4 alone caused no significant changes in lung function, symptoms, or bronchial reactivity relative to clean air. Exposure to O3 alone or O3 + H2SO4 caused a progressive, statistically significant (p < 0.05) decline in forced expiratory function, smaller on the second day than the first, as previously found by others for O3 exposure. Bronchial reactivity increased significantly after exposure to O3 with or without H2SO4. Changes in mean lung function and bronchial reactivity with O3 + H2SO4 exposure were modestly larger than changes with O3 exposure, but the differences were nonsignificant or marginally significant. A minority of individual asthmatic and nonasthmatic subjects showed substantially greater declines in function with exposure to O3 + H2SO4 relative to O3 alone. Repeat exposure studies of these subjects again showed an excess response to O3 + H2SO4 on the average, but there was no significant correlation between the excess responses of individual subjects in the original and repeat studies. We conclude that for typical healthy or asthmatic adults heavily exposed to acid summer haze, O3 is more important than H2SO4 as a cause of short-term respiratory irritant effects.