Air Pollution Ozone
6. Are certain population groups particularly vulnerable?
Are there specific population groups that should be brought into special attention?
WHO states: A number of groups within the
population have potentially
increased vulnerability to
the effects of exposure to
These groups comprise:
- those who are innately more
susceptible to the
effects of exposure to
air pollutants than others,
- those who become more susceptible for example as a
result of environmental or social factors or personal
- those who are exposed to unusually large amounts of
Members of the last group are
vulnerable by virtue of
exposure rather than as a
result of personal
Groups with innate
those with genetic
predisposition that render them unusually sensitive, for
example, to the broncho-constrictor effects of
ozone or liable to produce
an unusually marked
inflammatory response on
allergens. Very young
children and unborn babies are also particularly sensitive to
Groups which develop increased sensitivity include the aged,
those with cardio-respiratory disease or diabetes, those who are
exposed to other toxic materials that add to or interact with
air pollutants and those who are socioeconomically deprived.
When compared with healthy people, those with respiratory
disorders (such as asthma
or chronic bronchitis) may react more strongly to a given
exposure both as a result of
increased responsiveness to a specific dose and/or as a result
of a larger internal dose of some pollutants than in normal
individuals exposed to the same
concentration of pollutants.
Increased particle deposition and retention has been
demonstrated in the airways of subjects suffering from
obstructive lung diseases.
Lastly, those exposed to unusually large amounts of air
pollutants perhaps as a result of living near a main road or
spending long hours outdoors, may be
vulnerable as result of
their high exposure.
Source & ©: WHO Europe (2004)