Respiratory function as measured by peak expiratory flow rate and PM10: Six communities study

Jong Tae Lee, Carl M. Shy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This Six Communities Study conducted at six communities in southwestern North Carolina investigates the respiratory health status of residents whose households are located near an incinerator. This diary study makes it possible to estimate the daily variation of pulmonary function measured as peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) related to 24-h mean PM10 levels, which were observed at each monitoring station placed in the six study communities, as a surrogate exposure measure of outdoor air pollution. Observations of PEFR among participants in each community were analyzed to determine how they varied according to the degree of exposure to ambient pollutants as well as to other cofactors including, sex, age, respiratory hypersensitivity, hours spent outdoors within the area of the selected community, and surrogate measures for indoor air pollution exposure (vacuum use and experience of air irritants at work). The findings revealed that respiratory hypersensitivity status is a predictor of declining PEFR. PM10 concentrations measured in each study area did not seem to be related to the variations of respiratory health as measured by PEFR. This study did not show any difference in respiratory health between subjects of an incinerator community and those of its comparison community. Even though this community-based study with free- living subjects shows negative findings on the relationship between respiratory health and PM10, it is worth noting that these findings must be interpreted cautiously because exposure estimation based on monitoring of ambient air likely results in misclassification of true exposure levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Incinerators
  • Longitudinal data
  • PEFR
  • Particulate matters
  • Respiratory function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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