Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Culturally sensitive research in United Arab Emirates pinpoints indoor air quality risks

10.05.2012
The rapid shift from nomadic life to modern-day culture in the United Arab Emirates has exposed residents to significant indoor air quality risks that can lead to respiratory illness, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

With the swift modernization of the country, UAE governmental agencies have not performed the research required to pinpoint health risks, the study reported. The need to develop governmental research capacity makes collaborations with U.S. research teams vital, but the studies must be conducted in a culturally appropriate way.

"This is an important area of investigation, and the UAE is completely under-researched," said Karin Yeatts, Ph.D., lead study author and assistant professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. "There are many good scientific questions that need to be answered, and this area of the world is very deserving of science and public health work."

Knowing about indoor air quality risks is important, Yeatts said, because people in the UAE spend 80 percent to 95 percent of their time indoors escaping the high temperatures.

In the study published May 1 in the monthly journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Yeatts coordinated a research team from UAE and UNC's public health school to test air quality in 628 urban and rural family residences from October 2009 to May 2010. The study reached 1,590 participants, including men, women and children, ages 6 to 18.

Researchers collected data for five air pollutants - sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide – and monitored indoor air quality for one week.

Thirty percent of homes had measurable levels of sulfur dioxide, and 29 percent had quantifiable levels of formaldehyde. For nitrogen dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, 9 percent and 12 percent of households, respectively, recorded measurable concentrations.

Researchers compared the results to households without significant pollutant levels and discovered family members in homes with measurable sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydrogen sulfide were twice as likely to have doctor-diagnosed asthma. The team also found an increased prevalence of wheezing, including symptoms that limited speech, with these same pollutants. Neurological difficulties, such as difficulty concentrating, were loosely linked to quantifiable exposure of formaldehyde.

UAE households also were exposed to pollutants not found as frequently in the United States, specifically incense. Roughly 86 percent of UAE homes burn incense at least once a week, and formaldehyde levels are three times higher among those households that do so more frequently. Family members in these homes are more likely to report headaches, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating.

‘Burning incense in this region of the world is an important cultural practice, but I do think there are things people can do to reduce exposure,” Yeatts said. “People can reduce their exposure by opening windows, burning incense for a shorter time or burning smaller amounts."

Ultimately, Yeatts said, researchers hope the data collection and analysis will help improve public health knowledge in the UAE and support campaigns to limit exposures and risks associated with indoor air pollutants.

Yeatts' study was funded by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi and partially supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Study link: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI
=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1104090
Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Chris Perry, (919) 966-4555, chris.perry@unc.edu

News Services contact: Mike McFarland, (919) 962-8593, mike_mcfarland@unc.edu

Mike McFarland | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study shows nanoscale pendulum coupling
05.07.2019 | University of Barcelona

nachricht New unprinting method can help recycle paper and curb environmental costs
26.06.2019 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>