PURPOSE: Traffic police are exposed to high levels of vehicular pollution. Exposure to air pollution may both exacerbate and cause respiratory diseases. Cigarette smoking may further worsen the situation in this group. Carbon monoxide is an important constituent of vehicular pollution and also cigarette smoke. By assessing breath carbon monoxide levels we can assess the impact of environmental pollution and smoking on respiratory system.There is a paucity of data in the literature in this regard. So we have taken up this study to assess the levels of exhaled carbon monoxide in traffic police and non-traffic police and correlated them with vehicular pollution and smoking.
METHODS: A total number of 306 traffic police who worked for at least one year in traffic and 100 non-traffic police as controls were taken into the study. Breath CO levels were assessed with MICRO CO METER. People with significant medical conditions like asthma, allergy and diabetes who are known to affect breath CO levels were excluded from the study.
RESULTS: The mean breath CO levels of non-smokers and smokers in traffic-police were 3.22 ± 2.12 part per million (ppm) and 14.6 ± 6.7 ppm respectively. In Non-traffic police the mean breath CO levels for non-smokers and smokers were 1.74 ± 1.09 ppm and 12.4 ± 5.77 ppm respectively. The non-smokers in Traffic-police had higher mean breath CO levels (3.22) ppm compared to non-smokers in Non-traffic police (1.74 ppm) which is statistically significant. The smokers in traffic-police had slightly higher mean breath CO levels, when compared to smokers in Non-traffic police (14.6 vs. 12.4), though this is not statistically significant.
CONCLUSION: There is a significant elevation of breath CO levels in traffic police when compared to non-traffic controls.There is a direct correlation between breath CO levels and the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Estimation of Breath co levels is a simple,less expensive and more sensitive tool for assesment of effect of vehicular pollution and smoking on Lung health.
DISCLOSURE: Venu Kandala, None.