Emphysema and Fibrosis: Risk Factors in Responsiveness to Air Pollution
BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LAB UPTON NY UPTON United States
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Episodic and epidemiologic data appear to support the belief that chronic nonspecific lung disease imposes an additional risk to affected individuals when challenged by air pollution. While this concept has been implicitly enacted into law, little knowledge or understanding of the tenets of disease-based hypersusceptibility exists. The clinical and animal experimental data show trends, but in general have provided little substance to defend or challenge the legitimacy of the margins of safety incorporated into the standards of the EPA regulated pollutants. As more data on normal individuals are being collected, many of these safety margins appear to be eroding, thus offering little encouragment that susceptible subgroups of the population are actually being protected. It seems imperative that more research be conducted in this area of differential susceptibility with the aim of identifying sensitive groups, reasons for their susceptibility, and perhaps biological markers for individualized screening.