COPDSmoking Cessation

Measuring the effect of poor indoor air quality on COPD

High concentrations of fine particulate pollution — the type associated with secondhand smoke and, in developing countries, indoor cooking and heating fires — are linked to poorer health, according to researchers in Scotland. reports that the researchers measured levels of fine, airborne particles — pollutants smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) — in the homes of 148 Scottish patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Over the course of a week, they took air samples every 5 minutes. Outdoor levels were also sampled.

And, the results.

  • Concentrations of particulate pollution in the homes frequently exceeded standards for outdoor air.
  • High levels were recorded in the homes of people with COPD, with the highest levels being 4 times the 24-hour maximum recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Environmental tobacco smoke was a significant component of the pollutants.
  • Nearly 40% of the subjects were current smokers.
  • 17% of non-smokers lived in “smoking environments” where others smoked in their homes.
  • Both smokers and non-smokers were negatively affected by increased PM2.5, as measured by significant differences in St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) symptom scores — designed to measure the extent of impaired health in people with asthma or COPD.
  • Analysis of the effect of indoor air quality on smokers vs non-smokers revealed that smokers suffered greater adverse effects that nonsmokers.

The bottom line?
The researchers recommend to do more studies — surprise.

I think it makes sense to lower air pollution in the home now. Speak with your healthcare provider. More information from the EPA on residential air cleaning is discussed here.

9/3/07 22:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.