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Air-pollution and health Introduction: We are living things that need to breathe, no doubt of that. Every few seconds we need to inhale a small quantity of air. Unfortunately, the air we breathe in has become more and more polluted owning to a multitude of factors such as: increase in number of vehicles, increase usage of synthetic materials for buildings and homes, lack Of awareness towards potentially hazardous microorganisms such as fungi and so on. Air pollutants – any one of them, is undoubtedly a serious threat to our health.

According to statistics conducted y the World Health Organization, the incidence of health problems such as asthma, bronchitis, sick building syndrome, pneumonia, all attributable to air pollution, have increased significantly over the past few decades. We spend the majority of our time indoors, be it in our home, office or school. According to the perception of most people, “pollution” refers to the air that they breathe outdoors. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that the air they breathe indoors is estimated to be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air (Environmental Protection Agency).

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Indoor pollutants are associated to symptoms such as irritation of throat, lungs, headache and fatigue. Diseases including asthma, pneumonia, legionnaires disease have been traced to building related problems. In this essay will write about two indoor pollutants ? formaldehyde and fungi, and the health problems that are associated with them. Formaldehyde: What is formaldehyde? Formaldehyde is an organic compound (an allayed) that has a strong pungent odor. It is used in many products such as solvents, play/add, carpets, and foam insulation. Formaldehyde is classified as a volatile organic compound (VOCE).

Vic’s are chemicals that vaporize and become gas at room temperature. “Off-gassing” refers to the process in which products, containing formaldehyde, releases formaldehyde into the air. If high concentrations of formaldehyde are released and inhaled, it could cause health problems (Minnesota Department of health) Health problems associated to formaldehyde exposure: Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen – which suggests how deadly this chemical is to human health. Short term exposure to formaldehyde is associated to throat, eye and skin irritation.

Long term exposure might lead to cancers, eczema and asthma. National Cancer Institute). Exposure to formaldehyde is unavoidable in certain occupations such as embalmers and factory cleaners. However, exposure to formaldehyde via carpets and furniture in indoor environments is more common. (Garrett 1999). This suggests that the risk of formaldehyde exposure is very high should one stays indoor most of the time, especially in combination with poor ventilation. Apparently, this threat is not realized by most people of the general public. From this chart, we can learn that formaldehyde concentration as low as 0. 001 MGM / mm 0. 00081 pomp (pomp to MGM/mm conversion calculator) can nutrient to cancer risks. Can you image the damage done to your body at higher concentrations? (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2005) Essay Focus – Correlation between Formaldehyde exposure and asthma in children: First Literature ? Case study adopted from (SIS library of medicine, National institute of health). Title: Formaldehyde exposure and asthma in children: a systematic review Objective: To find out if there is an association between formaldehyde exposure and asthma in children.

Background information / why does this raise concerns? The asthmatic incidence among young children is increasing and this might e attributable to formaldehyde, since most of the furniture at home and school contain formaldehyde. Moreover, young children’s body is much weaker compared to teenagers and adults and therefore they might be more susceptible or sensitive to the harmful effects of formaldehyde. (CDC environmental health) Human studies suggest that children are more sensitive than adults to formaldehyde toxicity.

In a study examining effects in both children and adults, increasing Formaldehyde levels appeared to be associated with greater impacts on lung function in children than in adults in the same household. Children’s Environmental Health Protection Act, October, 2001) Data collection and analysis: This research was conducted based on the “Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines. Here, the researchers identified studies (conducted by other researchers) through the “pub Med” data base (National Library of Medicine 2009) that was related to the following keywords: formaldehyde, asthma and children.

Initially, 10 studies were selected. However, 7 studies which involved 5930 participants, 364 of whom had diagnosed asthma were utilized for this research eventually. Most studies were cross-sectional – half relied on self-reported information on asthma diagnoses, whereas the remainder used actual physician diagnoses. ((Note: “Zoo et al. 2008 outdoor” was used as a control, since this research is concerned about exposure to indoor formaldehyde and asthma correlation) The model that is being utilized to process the data is the “fixed-effects model”.

The left-most column indicates the 7 studies that are selected for this research. The center column indicates the risks of formaldehyde exposure and asthma among children with a 95% Confidence interval (CLC). The right lump indicates the odd ratio. In order to understand this model, it is of paramount important to understand the terminologies involved – “confidence internal (Q)” and “odd ratio (OR)”. Confidence interval (Q): Class’s sole purpose is to estimate the precision of odd ratio (I. E. Odd ratio’s number of decimal places; for instance 1. 09, 1. 118, etc). A large CLC indicates a low level of odd ratio precision; vice versa for small CLC. Unlike the “p value”, the 95% CLC does not report a measure’s statistical significance. If the 95% CLC does not overlap the null value (odd ratio-I) there is “strong relation” teen asthma and formaldehyde. However, it is inappropriate to interpret that there is no relation between asthma and formaldehyde should the odd ratio be > 1. In short, CLC does not contribute much to the statistical analysis. The odd ratio is the factor that is crucial to the entire analysis. Explaining odd ratios, J Can Cad Child Doodles Psychiatry, 201 0 August) Odd ratio (OR): OR is a measure of association between an exposure (to formaldehyde) and outcome (asthma). It can also be used to determine whether a particular exposure (to formaldehyde) is a risk factor for a particular outcome (asthma) OR?I Exposure does not affect odds of outcome (Formaldehyde exposure does not cause asthma) OR Exposure associated with high odds of outcome (Formaldehyde exposure leads to high asthma risks) OR 1 Since OR>I , it verifies concisely that asthma risk is high among children who are exposed to Formaldehyde.

According to the research itself, results show that there is a 17% increase in asthma risk for each 10-peg/mm unit increase in formaldehyde. Conclusion: The results indicate a significant association between formaldehyde exposure and asthma risk among children. Evidences: OR>I and 17 17% increase in asthma risk for each peg/mm unit increase in formaldehyde. Strengths: This research is based on 7 similar studies that are published by “pub-med” a world-known website that publishes research works related to the medical and biotechnology fields.

Needless to say, in order for these studies to be published by pub-med, they must have attained certain standards and qualifications. Therefore, this makes them very reliable. Suffice to say, this research is not merely “one” research, but 7 different researches combined together to form one research. Clearly, the quantity of data is sufficient and mime spent (in total) for research is significant or long enough to minimize errors including random and systematic errors. Weakness: However, given the large cross-sectional nature of the studies involved in this research, further well-designed epidemiological studies are definitely required.

For instance, using a different study format, different data model and collecting data individually instead of relying on cross-sectional ones. Us Mary table: Research concern Formaldehyde and asthma risks in children Guidelines used Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) Number of relevant studies chosen studies. 5930 participants, 364 had asthma were involved. Model chosen to process data Fixed effects model Confidence interval (CLC) 95%. Purpose: estimate precision of Odd ratio (OR).

Does not contribute to statistical significance. Odd ratio (OR) OR is crucial for statistical analysis. OR>I (1 . 170 overall) suggests that asthma risk is high among children who are exposed to formaldehyde. Risk % 17% increase in asthma risk for each 10-peg/mm unit increase in formaldehyde. Conclusion Positive, significant association between formaldehyde exposure and asthma Strengths 7 qualified studies combined into One research. Data quality is sufficient, time spent is long enough to minimize random and systematic errors.

Weakness argue cross-sectional study (half relied on self-reported information on asthma diagnoses, whereas the remainder used actual physician diagnoses. Improvements Better designed epidemiological studies using medical science to strengthen statistical evidence: Data analysis has justified that there is a significant association between formaldehyde exposure and asthma. However, I believe that more evidence is required to justify the outcome of the research because: 1) the research is not flawless, there is room for improvements. A strong correlation does not indicate an absolute proof (formaldehyde exposure is related to high asthma risks. This does not mean that formaldehyde causes asthma definitely – it is not a well-established fact or formula that cannot be overturned or questioned) Second Literature (to support first literate re): “Formaldehyde and asthma – the medical science behind it” I decided to use medical science as my second literature source, because formaldehyde and asthma are related to medicine / health -formaldehyde is a “human carcinogen” (previously mentioned) and asthma is a respiratory disorder.

Given these “criteria”, medical science is obviously the most suitable literature that can and should be utilized to justify whether or not formaldehyde exposure is correlated to high asthma risks. Discussion: Medical science behind formaldehyde and asthma: Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute).

There is strong empirical evidence that formaldehyde is able to affect normal expiratory function. “Formaldehyde is a well-recognized irritant affecting multiple tissues and it has been demonstrated to provoke transient decline in pulmonary (respiratory) function. (Pasternak et al. 1 AY’ Since asthma is a type of respiratory anomaly and formaldehyde is able to affect normal respiratory function, it suggests that there might be a correlation between asthma and formaldehyde exposure. How exactly does formaldehyde cause asthma? ) When a certain amount or concentration of formaldehyde is inhaled (accumulated over a period of time), elevation in Gig and leg antibodies occurs. These antibodies cause hypersensitivity. (Varies from individual to individual. Some are more susceptible to asthma. Some are lesser. ) According to research, “Chronic exposure to formaldehyde has been associated to an increase in Gig and leg antibodies which contributes to hypersensitivity. (Thrasher et al AY’ Gig and leg antibodies are cells of the immune system that fight diseases such as bacteria, viruses, parasites in the body.

They are analogous to “soldiers” or “defense systems. ” (Medical Plus Medical Encyclopedia). When a certain amount of formaldehyde (“enemy/’ or ‘threat”) is inhaled, these soldiers” increase in amount and trigger hypersensitivity to eliminate Unfortunately, hypersensitivity produced more harm to the body instead. “Hypersensitivity refers to excessive, undesirable (damaging, discomfort- producing and sometimes fatal) reactions produced by the immune system. ” (Microbiology and immunology online, University of South Carolina) 2) Hypersensitivity leads to undesirable reactions.

So what are these damaging / discomfort producing / fatal reactions? There are many possible types of reactions, ranging from mild to fatal. These reactions include: tissue destruction, release of chemicals that affect our histology, and even death. In this formaldehyde and asthma case, these “reactions” cause certain chemicals to be released. These chemicals are known as “bronchi-constrictor” (aka airway constrictor), which lead to the narrowing of airways by causing muscles surrounding the airways to contract.

Airway constriction can also be caused by chemicals that lead to airway inflammation. Inflammation as it name suggests: “flame” is associated with “heat”. When it is too “hot” cells die. (I am referring specifically to the cells in the airway). As cells died, airway wall became thicker (refer to above diagram n asthma) and constriction occurs. 3) Airway constriction causes asthma. Airway constriction – due to muscle constriction and inflammation of airway automatically leads to difficulty of air passage or flow into the lungs, thus fulfilling the definition of the respiratory disorder – asthma.

Us Mary: Formaldehyde (certain amount or concentration) inhaled. Antibodies (“soldiers”) – leg and Gig increase in amount. Purpose: to eliminate formaldehyde (“enemy’) by triggering hypersensitivity. Hypersensitivity did more harm to the body instead. Undesirable reactions are: release of chemicals that cause airway instruction. 2 ways airway constriction is brought about: muscle constriction due to bronchi-dilator and inflammation. Definition Of asthma = airway constriction, leading to breathing difficulty.

Therefore, formaldehyde exposure leads to asthma. To sum it up, strong evidence from both statistical and medical literatures justify that there is a high correlation between formaldehyde exposure and asthma. However, it is important to know that this is only a strong correlation and not a definitive fact or formula. More research is needed to draw stronger conclusions in time to come, and perhaps one day, formaldehyde exposure and asthma risks is not merely a correlation but a proven fact that cannot be overturned or questioned.

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