In a recent study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, researchers explored the link between obstructive sleep apnea and two common air pollutants — nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and a type of fine particle pollution known as PM2.5, produced by power plants, motor vehicles, agricultural fires, and certain industrial processes.
The study found that people who lived in areas with higher amounts of these two types of pollution were more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea. In particular, a participant’s risk of having sleep apnea increased by:
- 60 percent for each 5 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) increase in yearly PM2.5 exposure
- 39 percent for each 10 parts per billion increase in yearly NO2
Air pollution harms billions of people on a continuing basis, and may damage health in a number of ways.