Exposure to air pollution and pulmonary function in university students

Yun Chul Hong, Jong Han Leem, Kwan Hee Lee, Dong Hyun Park, Jae Yeon Jang, Sun Tae Kim, Eun Hee Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: Exposure to air pollution has been reported to be associated with increase in pulmonary disease. The aims of the present study were to examine the use of personal nitrogen dioxide (NO2) samplers as a means of measuring exposure to air pollution and to investigate the relationship between personal exposure to air pollution and pulmonary function. Methods: We measured individual exposures to NO2 using passive personal NO2 samplers for 298 healthy university students. Questionnaire interview was conducted for traffic-related factors, and spirometry was performed when the samplers were returned after 1 day. Results: Personal NO2 concentrations varied, depending on the distance between residence and a main road (P = 0.029). Students who used transportation for more than 1 h were exposed to higher levels of NO2 than those using transportation for less than 1 h (P = 0.032). In terms of transportation, riding in a bus or subway caused significantly higher exposure than not using them (P = 0.046). NO2 exposure was not significantly associated with forced vital capacity (FVC) or forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) but was associated with the ratio of FEV1/FVC and mid-expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of the forced vital capacity (FEF25-75) (P < 0.05). Conclusions: This study indicates that concentrations of personal exposure to NO2 are significantly influenced by traffic-related air pollution and are associated with decreased pulmonary function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-138
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This study was supported by grant 02-PJ1-PG1-CH03-0001 of the Department of Health and Welfare, South Korea.


  • Air pollution
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Pulmonary function


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