Effects of Airborne Particles on Respiratory Viral Infection
Particulate Matter (PM) is one of the six “criteria” pollutants for which the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) is required by the Clean Air Act to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Similarly, the European Commission has set standards for PM levels in European countries, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has set worldwide guidelines for ambient PM levels. Exposure to other airborne particles, such as cigarette smoke particles, is less well regulated, despite recent worldwide efforts to minimize exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) by prohibiting smoking in public places and indoor workplaces. While there is no shortage of reviews that focus on the health effects of airborne particles, specific information concerning the effects of exposure to such particles on respiratory infections is lacking. Therefore, this review will focus on the current evidence involving potential interactions between airborne particles and respiratory viral infections.