Winter air pollution and the health impacts

A new research paper from the University of Otago’s Christchurch-based Respiratory Research Group.

– Staying inside on smoggy days doesn’t save you from pollution – research showed little difference in the concentrations of PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 particulates between indoors and outdoors.

– A small decrease in lung function during high pollution days was detected in boys with asthma (of the sample of 93 male secondary students boarding at Christ’s College, 26 had asthma).

– Exposure to wood smoke pollution can be directly measured in urine (increase in 1-hydroxpyrene levels during high pollution days).

The research, funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, is available for download below or from the website of the online journal Environmental Health.

For more information contact research co-author, Dr Michael Epton:

Director Canterbury Respiratory Research Group

University of Otago, Christchurch

Tel. 027 238 3497

The speak to other experts about the health impacts of air pollution, contact the Science Media Centre on 04 499 5476 or

Related articles: Also see our Science Alert in which scientists comment on the Beijing smog and the potential impact on the health and performance of Olympic athletes.