The Respiratory Tract and the Environment

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The Respiratory Tract and the Environment

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Title: The Respiratory Tract and the Environment
Author: Brain, Joseph David
Citation: Brain, Joseph D. 1977. The Respiratory Tract and the Environment. Environmental Health Perspectives 20: 113-126. Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives.
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Abstract: The primary determinants of pulmonary disease are environmental. The same thinness and delicacy of the air-blood barrier which allows rapid exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide also reduce its effectiveness as a barrier to inhaled allergens, carcinogens, toxic particles, and noxious gases, and micro-organisms. Adults breath 10,000 to 20,000 liters of air daily. This volume of air contains potentially hazardous contaminating particles and gases. Future research should explore the diverse physiological mechanisms which prevent the accumulation and deleterious action of inhaled particles and gases. Since most pulmonary diseases are either initiated by or at least aggravated by the inhalagion of particles and gases, the role of environmental factors in the development of respiratory disease is an area worthy of continued support.
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