Lung disease refers to any disease or disorder in which the lungs do not function properly. Lung disease is the third leading killer in the United States, responsible for one in seven deaths, and is the leading cause of death among infants under the age of one. Some lung diseases, like asthma and emphysema, involve a narrowing or blockage of the airways resulting in poor air flow. Others, including pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia and lung cancer, are caused by a loss of elasticity in the lungs that produces a decrease in the total volume of air that the lungs are able to hold. Research has shown that long-term exposure to air pollutants can reduce lung growth and development and increase the risk of developing asthma, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases. Results from the NIEHS-supported Harvard Six Cities Study, the largest available database on the health effects of outdoor and indoor air pollution, show a strong association between exposure to ozone, fine particles and sulfur dioxide, and an increase in respiratory symptoms, reduced lung capacity, and risk of early death.
Health Studies & Clinical Trials
What NIEHS is Doing on Lung Diseases