Assessing exposure risk for dust storm events-associated lung function decrement in asthmatics and implications for control


Asian dust storms (ADS) events are seasonally-based meteorological phenomena that exacerbate chronic respiratory diseases. The purpose of this study was to assess human health risk from airborne dust exposure during ADS events in Taiwan. A probabilistic risk assessment framework was developed based on exposure and experimental data to quantify ADS events induced lung function decrement. The study reanalyzed experimental data from aerosol challenge in asthmatic individuals to construct the dose–response relationship between inhaled dust aerosol dose and decreasing percentage of forced expiratory volume in 1 s (%FEV$_1$). An empirical lung deposition model was used to predict deposition fraction for size specific dust aerosols in pulmonary regions. The toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic models were used to simulate dust aerosols binding kinetics in lung airway in that %FEV$_1$ change was also predicted. The mask respirators were applied to control the inhaled dose under dust aerosols exposure. Our results found that only 2% probability the mild ADS events were likely to cause %FEV$_1$ decrement higher than 5%. There were 50% probability of decreasing %FEV$_1$ exceeding 16.9, 18.9, and 7.1% in north, center, and south Taiwan under severe ADS events, respectively. Our result implicates that the use of activated carbon of mask respirators has the best efficacy for reducing inhaled dust aerosol dose, by which the %FEV$_1$ decrement can be reduced up to less than 1%.

Atmospheric Environment