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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 1969;2(1): 5-22.
Epidemiological Study of Air Pollution and Its affects on Health of Urban Population.
Kyou Chull Chung
The urban population of our country is rapidly increasing due to many factors of social structure, and sociologists are predicting that the increase rate of the urban population will be over 50% in 1980's. Above all, the population of the capital city of Seoul, is at present more than four millions. Such centering of people in cities, together with the improvement of the standards of living, caused rapid increase in the amount of fuel consumption, and this consumption of fuels became one of the primary sources of the air pollution in cities. Moreover, the heavy traffic, construction of many tall buildings, and the increasing number of new factories due to the industrial development-all these are contributing to make the matter of air pollution worse and in worse in the Metropolitan, whose geographical location is quite unfavorable considered from the view point of air pollution. Most homes in Seoul use briquet as fuel, while oils are used in tall buildings. The CO, SO2, and smoke that come from burning of these furls are a great threat to the health of the urban population. With the purpose of examining the influence of air pollution upon the public health, written inquiries were made upon respiratory diseases, and the carboxyhemoglobin saturation in the blood was measured to determine whether the air pollution may affect the health of the urban population. Method of Health Examination. (1) Investigation of Respiratory Diseases. Patients' records were examined to finure out the monthly ambulance rate of respiratory patients to the total number of patients treated. On the other hand, by using the questionnaire form approved by the Medical Research Council's Committee on Research into Chronic Bronchitis, investigators interviewed the examinees and inquired into the respiratory symptoms. (2) Measuring of Carboxyhemoglobin Saturation. From the ear lobe of the examinees, with the use of the melangeur for the white blood cell counting, blood was taken, and after diluting it ten times with 0.1% Na2Co3, again diulting it 20 times with 0.5% Na2 CO3, its absorbancy was measured. The following results are obtained from the investigation. (1) It was found out that 7.7% of the total patients under treatment were suffering from upper respiratory infection, acute or chronic bronchitis. bronchial asthma. Pulmonary emphysema and bronchiectasis. of them all, patients with upper respiratory infection numbered the greatest with 4.8% and patients with acute or chronic bronchitis the next with 2.1%, and their monthly ambulance rate was high form December to February during the winter, and form April to May and Form September to October during the changeable seasons. (2) The daily ambulance rate of respiratory patients, it was revealed, had a close connection with the concentration of So2 and Co2 in the air. (3) It was found out that men were more subject to respiratory disease than women, and both men and women were more liable to the diseases with the advancing of age. (4)People living at Choong-ku with the heavy traffic and in the industrial zones of Yeundungpo had high frequency of respiratory symptoms. (5) Considered from the view point of occupations, high frequency was found among those without job, with jobs unknown, merchants and industrial workers, whose social status was rather low and traffic policemen who were always exposed to the exhaust gas of cars. As for women, the frequency was detected in the order of those from high to low, housewives who were exposed to briquet gas, women with jobs unknown, women without jobs, whose social status was low. (6) Ex-smokers rallier than smokers, of both sexes, had higher frequency. As for moll, heavy smokers had high frequency, while in women light smokers had rather high frequence which was presumed to be due to their average old age. (7) Men's average of carboxyhemoglobin saturation was 9.48%, while women's was 11.3%, higher than men's. (p<0.05). Age meant no difference in the case of men, but as for women, the saturation was remarkably high between the ages from 20 to 60. (8) No regional difference was detected in the carboxhemoglobin saturation. (9) The carboxyhemoglobin saturation was found, in the case of men, in the order of office workers, traffic policemen, students, the unemployed, merchants and industrial worker; drivers and as for women, the order was housewives, office worker merchants and industrial workers. (10) No significant correlation was found between the carboxyhemoglobin saturation and the concentration of Co detected in kitchens, or between the carboxyhemoglobin saturation 2nd the passing of time after exposure to briquet gas. No difference of carboxyhemoglobin saturation was detected between smokers and non-smokers, and the degrees of smoking: only, significant negative correlation was found between the passing of time after smoking and the carboxyhemoglobin saturation. It is true that air pollution causes or aggravates the respiratory diseases, increases the carboxyhemoglobin saturation in the blood, but what seems to be more hazardous to the health is tile air polluted by the briquet gas in the kitchens and on-dol rooms rather than the atmospheric pollution.
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