Indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure has been associated with COPD. The most prominent indoor exposures are from tobacco smoke and the use of biomass fuels, while the most common non-occupational outdoor exposures are particulate matter (PM10 & PM2.5), ozone, pesticides, and sulfur dioxide from automobiles and industrial sources. Occupational exposures such as fumes, gas, and both inorganic and organic dusts have been associated with COPD.
People with COPD are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, and at lower levels than people without COPD. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to increases in COPD-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations
While there is some evidence that environmental factors can contribute to the development of COPD, we know much more about indoor and outdoor environmental factors that can exacerbate COPD symptoms:
- Environmental tobacco smoke/Second hand smoke
- Air pollution
- Certain gases, fumes, and dusts in the workplace