Linhares, D., Garcia, P.V., Viveiros, F., Ferreira, T. & Rodrigues, A.S. (2015) Air pollution by hydrothermal volcanism and human pulmonary function.BioMed Research International, 326794, 1-9. DOI:Article ID 326794 (IF2015 2,134; Q3 Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology)
The aim of this study was to assess whether chronic exposure to volcanogenic air pollution by hydrothermal soil diffuse degassing is associated with respiratory defects in humans. This study was carried in the archipelago of the Azores, an area with active volcanism located in the Atlantic Ocean where Eurasian, African, and American lithospheric plates meet. A cross-sectional study was performed on a study group of 146 individuals inhabiting an area where volcanic activity is marked by active fumarolic fields and soil degassing (hydrothermal area) and a reference group of 359 individuals inhabiting an area without these secondary manifestations of volcanism (nonhydrothermal area). Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were adjusted for age, gender, fatigue, asthma, and smoking. The OR for restrictive defects and for exacerbation of obstructive defects (COPD) in the hydrothermal area was 4.4 (95% CI 1.78–10.69) and 3.2 (95% CI 1.82–5.58), respectively. Increased prevalence of restrictions and all COPD severity ranks (mild, moderate, and severe) was observed in the population from the hydrothermal area. These findings may assist health officials in advising and keeping up with these populations to prevent and minimize the risk of respiratory diseases.