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Air Pollution And Respiratory Diseases In The Tokyo-Yokohama Area

Air Pollution And Respiratory Diseases In The Tokyo-Yokohama Area

American Review of Respiratory Disease 90: 572-581

To investigate the effects of air pollution on the respiratory tract among Japanese (especially in relationship to Tokyo-Yokohama asthma), persons in an area of relatively low air pollution (Niigata, Japan) were compared with a comparable population in a highly polluted area (Tokyo-Tokohama). Pulmonary function tests were performed on 2,765 persons, who were also interviewed. The residents of the Tokyo-Yokohama area had an increased incidence of sputum production, chronic cough, and throat irritation. Among these, cigarette smokers and persons with a history of allergies had the most respiratory difficulty. Residents of the Tokyo-Yokohama area had a tendency to have a lower mean vital capacity than those of Niigata, and this was even more marked in those persons working in the most heavily polluted area for the longest time. Among the Tokyo-Yokohama residents, there was an increased number of patients over the age of 45 with airway obstructive changes. The results of this study indicate that prolonged exposure to heavily polluted air is associated with an increase in respiratory symptoms and airway obstructive changes. Although there were some subjects with symptoms similar to those of Tokyo-Yokohama ashtma, no symptoms among the Japanese agreed with the characteristic picture of this syndrome as described in the literature, despite the fact that 60% of the subjects in the Tokyo-Yokohama area who were studied had moved there from other parts of Japan. It would appear that, if this disease exists among the Japanese living in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, it must be exceedingly rare, unless the definition is broadened to indicate that it is an asthmatic respiratory disease influenced by the environmental conditions of the area.

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Accession: 029948285

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PMID: 14221669

DOI: 10.1164/arrd.1964.90.4.572

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