Symposium Examines Global Threat of Air Pollution

Gregory P. Downey

Air pollution inflicts a huge burden of illness—from respiratory problems caused by asthma, COPD, and lung cancer to non-respiratory issues brought on by coronary artery disease, hypertension, and cancer. Air pollution stunts lung growth and increases susceptibility to respiratory infections in infants and children. Additionally, it predisposes adults to respiratory diseases, including asthma, bronchiolitis, COPD, and lung cancer.

“Air Pollution: A Major Global Threat to Lung Health” from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. today in Centennial Ballroom D (Third Floor) Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the impact of outdoor and indoor air pollution on lung disease, consider ways of reducing the burden of air pollution, and discuss mechanisms of lung injury.

“Indoor air pollution contributes to 75 percent of COPD in developing nations, affecting young mothers and children who are most heavily exposed to smoke from fires and cooking instruments indoors,” says Gregory P. Downey, MD, executive vice president of academic affairs at National Jewish Health and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver. “Understanding how air pollution contributes to lung disease is critical in preventing and mitigating the effects of air pollution.”

Dr. Downey is chair of the scientific symposium with three other experts: Peter J. Barnes, DSc, MD, Margaret Turner-Warwick Chair at the Imperial College of London; Sundeep Salvi, MD, PhD, director of the Chest Research Foundation, Pune, India; and Ross Vlahos, PhD, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Attendees will learn about the enormous impact of air pollution on global lung health, gain an understanding of the components of indoor and outdoor air pollution that damage lung health, and learn about public health measures needed to reduce air pollution and lung disease.

Those interested in this session are also encouraged to attend “‘OMICS’ of Environmentally-Induced Lung Diseases” from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. today. This mini symposium will be held in the same location—Centennial Ballroom E (Third Floor) Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center.