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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71-73

A comparative study of the effect of automobile pollution on pulmonary function tests of exposed cab drivers


1 Department of Physiology, PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Basaveshwara Medical College, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Physiology, Basaveshwara Medical College, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication19-Jul-2013

Correspondence Address:
Amrith Pakkala
Professor of Physiology, PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh
India
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DOI: 10.4103/1118-8561.115264

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  Abstract 

Background: Urbanization is associated with an enormous increase in vehicular traffic emitting exhausts and polluting the atmosphere. Emissions from vehicular traffic constitute the most significant source of ultraparticle in an urban environment. Cab drivers who work near areas located in the vicinity of traffic junctions through which maximum number of vehicles passes are more prone to develop health issues pertaining to the respiratory system. The effect of this occupational hazard in this unorganised workforce is not adequately studied. This study is designed to determine the effect of air pollution on the pulmonary system in cab drivers exposed to automobile exhaust. Materials and Methods: This study was conducted by performing pulmonary function tests (PFTs) on 20 cab drivers who are exposed to automobile exhaust by virtue of their work venue nearer to traffic junctions and comparing them with 20 age, gender-matched, and anthropometric profile cab drivers who work in a rural setting free from vehicular air pollution. PFT by computerized spirometer measuring forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume (FEV 1 ), FEV1/FVC, peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), and forced expiratory flow (FEF) 25%-75% were measured. Statistical analysis was done by Student's t test (two-tailed, independent) for intergroup analysis. Results: There was a statistically significant decline in dynamic pulmonary function parameters in the study group when compared. FVC, FEV in first second, PEFR, FEV 1 /FVC, and FEF 25%-75%) were all found to be statistically significantly lower in cab drivers as compared to control group (P < 0.001). Conclusion: This study finds a significant decline in various PFT parameters recorded in the study group as compared with the control group. These suggests a tendency for obstructive lung disease among cab drivers exposed to a polluted urban environment.

Keywords: Air pollution, cab drivers, pulmonary function


How to cite this article:
Pakkala A, Raghavendra T, Ganashree CP. A comparative study of the effect of automobile pollution on pulmonary function tests of exposed cab drivers. Sahel Med J 2013;16:71-3

How to cite this URL:
Pakkala A, Raghavendra T, Ganashree CP. A comparative study of the effect of automobile pollution on pulmonary function tests of exposed cab drivers. Sahel Med J [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Dec 8];16:71-3. Available from: https://www.smjonline.org/text.asp?2013/16/2/71/115264


  Introduction Top


Modern day life in cities is associated with an enormous increase in vehicular traffic and motor vehicle emissions constitute the most significant source of ultraparticle in an urban environment. [1] Traffic-related air pollution is an occupational health hazard to individuals with a work environment close to traffic. [1] It is obvious that cab drivers who work near grounds located in the vicinity of traffic junctions through which maximum number of vehicles passes are constantly exposed to vehicular exhaust and are more prone to develop health issues pertaining to the respiratory system.

When inhaled, air pollutants cause damage to the airways and lungs, and the prevalence of obstructive, restrictive, and mixed type of functional impairment of the respiratory system have been found to have direct relationship with the dust concentration and duration of exposure. [2]

Most components of vehicular exhaust are oxidant in nature and are highly reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS are free radicals that cause injury in tissues through membrane damaging processes leading to cell dysfunctions. Although these pollutants may interact with other organ systems, their most obvious effects are in lungs because lungs present the largest exposed surface to the atmosphere. [3],[4],[5]

In view of the inherent reserve capacity of the respiratory system, the adaptive effect of exercise, and that symptoms pertaining to involvement of respiratory system appear only after considerable pathology, there is a need to study the lung functions cab drivers to detect occupation related subclinical involvement of their lungs. The effect of this occupational hazard in this unorganized workforce is not adequately studied in India. Hence, the present study is designed to study the effect of air pollution on the pulmonary system in cab drivers exposed to automobile exhaust.


  Materials and Methods Top


This study was designed to determine the effect of air pollution on the pulmonary system in cab drivers exposed to automobile exhaust.

The study was conducted by performing pulmonary function tests (PFTs) on 20 randomly selected cab drivers who are exposed to automobile exhaust by virtue of their practising venue nearer to traffic junctions and comparing them with 20 other age, gender- and anthropometric profile matchedcab drivers who work in a rural setting free from vehicular air pollution.

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects who were willing to participate in the study.

Ethical clearance was obtained from institutional Ethical Committee of PES IMSR, Kuppam.

Inclusion criteria

Healthy male cab drivers who are nonsmokers in the age group of 20-30 years who work in rural areas free from motor vehicular traffic for more than 1 year are included in the control group.

Exclusion criteria

Subjects with any evidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, musculoskeletal abnormality, heart disease, anemia, obesity, as well as smokers and those with history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or hypertension were excluded from the study.

The anthropometric data was measured in all subjects. PFT by computerized spirometer measuring forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in first second (FEV 1 ), FEV 1 /FVC, peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), forced expiratory flow (FEF) 25%-75% were measured.

PFT measurements were done using the equipment from FIM company with a minimum of three readings on each occasion at 15 min interval and maximum performed values were taken.

Statistical analysis was done by Student's t test (two-tailed, independent) for intergroup analysis.


  Results Top


[Table 1] shows that there is no statistically significant difference with respect to all the anthropometric parameters measured in all the subjects in the subject and control groups.
Table 1: Anthropometric parameters in study and control groups

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[Table 2] compared the PFT in the study and control groups. There was a statistically significant decline in the dynamic pulmonary function parameters in the study group when compared to controls.
Table 2: Comparison of PFT in study and control groups

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FVC, FEV 1 , PEFR, FEV 1 /FVC, and FEF 25%-75%) were all statistically significantly lower in cab drivers as compared with control group (P < 0.001).


  Discussion Top


The present study is designed to determine the effect of air pollution on the pulmonary system in cab drivers exposed to automobile exhaust.

Diesel exhaust particle organic extracts induce ROS in the macrophages and bronchial epithelial cells in the lung. ROS activates the promoters of cytokines and chemokines involved in allergic inflammation through activator protein-1 and nuclear factor k B signalling pathways. Organic diesel exhaust particles also induce apoptosis and necrosis in bronchial epithelial cells via mitochondrial pathway. [3],[5]

Most of the immune responses responsible for allergic inflammation are due to an enhanced production of immunoglobulin E due to polyaromatic hydrocarbons in vehicular emissions. [6] This could be the reason for decline in FVC, FEV 1,, PEFR in cab drivers exposed to automobile exhausts. There was also a significant decrease in FEV 1 /FVC in the study group as compared with controls suggesting an obstructive type of abnormality.

FEF 25%-75% indicates flow rates in small airways of less than 2 mm diameter. There is significant decrease in this parameter in the study group indicating greater involvement of smaller airways. Particles generated from diesel exhaust are extremely small and are present in the nuclei or accumulation modes, diameters of 0.02 and 0.2 nm, respectively. These small sized particles by virtue of their greater surface area to mass ratio can carry a much larger fraction of toxic compounds, such as hydrocarbons or metals on their surface. Hence, chronic exposure to them can lead to chronic inflammation of respiratory tract and lung parenchyma.


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, our data demonstrated a significant decline in various PFT parameters recorded in the study group as compared with the controls. The decline in flow rates of dynamic lung function suggests a tendency for obstructive lung disease among cab drivers exposed to a polluted urban environment.

 
  References Top

1.Jafary ZA, Faridi IA, Qureshi HJ. Effects of airborne dust on lung functions of exposed subjects. Pak J Physiol 2007;3:30-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Pakkala A. Adaptability in nature-Are lungs mouldable? Indian J Physiother Occup Ther 2010;4:17-8.   Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Dickson RP, Schwartz DA. Acute and chronic responses to toxic inhalations. In: Fishman AP, Elias ZA, Fishman JA, Grippi MA, Senior RM, Pack AI, editors. Fishman's Pulmonary Diseases And Disorders. 4 th ed. China: Mc Graw Hill Companies; 2008. p. 995-1002  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Nel AE, Diaz-Sanchez D, Li N. The role of particulate pollutants in pulmonary inflammation and asthma: Evidence for the involvement of organic chemicals and oxidative stress. Curr Opin Pulm Med 2001;7:20-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.Polosa R, Salvi S, Di Maria GU. Allergic susceptibility associated with diesel exhaust particle exposure: Clear as mud. Arch Environ Health 2002;57:188-93.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    
6.Singhal M, Khaliq F, Singhal S, Tandon OP. Pulmonary functions in petrol pump workers: A preliminary study. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2007;51:244-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

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  In this article
   Abstract
  Introduction
   Materials and Me...
  Results
  Discussion
  Conclusion
   References
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