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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Potential risks to human respiratory health from "acid fog": evidence from experimental studies of volunteers.

Observations of high acidity (pH as low as 1.7) in fogwater collected in polluted areas have provoked concern for public health. Effects of exposure to acidic pollutants have not been studied under foggy conditions; thus there is no directly relevant information from which to estimate the health risk. Indirectly relevant information is available from numerous studies of volunteers exposed to "acid fog precursors" under controlled conditions at less than 100% relative humidity. The effect of fog in modifying responses to inhaled acidic pollutants is difficult to predict: depending on circumstances, fog droplets might either increase or decrease the effective dose of pollutants to the lower respiratory tract. Fog inhalation per se may have unfavorable effects in some individuals. Sulfur dioxide is known to exacerbate airway constriction in exercising asthmatics, at exposure concentrations attainable in ambient air. Nitrogen dioxide has shown little untoward respiratory effect at ambient concentrations in most studies, although it has been suggested to increase bronchial reactivity. Sulfuric acid aerosol has shown no clear effects at concentrations within the ambient range. At somewhat higher levels, increased bronchial reactivity and change in mucociliary clearance have been suggested. Almost no information is available concerning nitric acid.[1]


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