How do particulates affect my allergies?

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Dr. Lawrence T. Chiaramonte, MD
Allergist & Immunologist

Large-scale exposures to particulates, such as diesel fumes, and chemicals released by building demolition, up to and including the collapse of the World Trade Center, can exacerbate allergic and asthmatic tendencies. When something as serious as 9/11 happens, there may be no long-term cure, even though the exposure may not last very long.

The bigger problem for large numbers of children and adults is that the exposure may not be as acute, but it goes on and on, such as diesel and industrial matter that is concentrated in poor urban neighborhoods. Mere economics is no guarantee of safety, as there are "asthma corridors" even in richer neighborhoods.

The New York Times wrote that the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which has some of the country's wealthier zip codes, has some of the city's filthiest air. In addition to vehicular traffic, the boilers in the basements of distinguished older buildings burn heavier oil than newer burners, resulting in higher concentrations of particulates and sulfur dioxide.

Rural areas, too, are prone to problems from industrial-scale agriculture, especially around manure lagoons that capture waste from feedlots and dairies. The lungs and sinuses of allergy and asthma patients who live near the pollution sources are in perpetual red alert. A renewed emphasis on clean air would help the health of millions of Americans.

Asthma Allergies Children: A Parent's Guide

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.