Study Reveals Air Pollution Can Alter Effectiveness of Antibiotics

Researchers from the University of Leicester have for the first time discovered that bacteria that cause respiratory infections are directly affected by air pollution – increasing the potential for infection and changing the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment.

The interdisciplinary study, which has been published in the journal Environmental Microbiology, has important implications for the treatment of infectious diseases, which are known to be increased in areas with high levels of air pollution.

The study looked into how air pollution affects the bacteria living in our bodies, specifically the respiratory tract – the nose, throat and lungs.

A major component of air pollution is black carbon, which is produced through the burning of fossil fuels such as diesel, biofuels and biomass.

The research shows that this pollutant changes the way in which bacteria grow and form communities, which could affect how they survive on the lining of our respiratory tracts and how well they are able to hide from, and combat, our immune systems.

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Dr. Julie Morrissey, associate professor of microbial genetics in the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics and lead author on the paper, said: “This work increases our understanding of how air pollution affects human health. It shows that the bacteria which cause respiratory infections are affected by air pollution, possibly increasing the risk of infection and the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment of these illnesses. Our research could initiate an entirely new understanding of how air pollution affects human health. It will lead to enhancement of research to understand how air pollution leads to severe respiratory problems and perturbs the environmental cycles essential for life.”

Dr. Shane Hussey and Dr. Jo Purves, the research associates working on the project said, “Everybody worldwide is exposed to air pollution every time they breathe. It is something we cannot limit our exposure to as individuals, but we know that it can make us ill. So we need to understand what it is doing to us, how it is making us unhealthy, and how we might be able to stop these effects.”

The research focused on two human pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, which are both major causes of respiratory diseases and exhibit high levels of resistance to antibiotics.

The research team found that black carbon alters the antibiotic tolerance of Staphylococcus aureus communities and importantly increases the resistance of communities of Streptococcus pneumoniae to penicillin, the front line treatment of bacterial pneumonia.

Furthermore, it was found that black carbon caused Streptococcus pneumoniae to spread from the nose to the lower respiratory tract, which is a key step in development of disease.

Professors Julian Ketley, professor of bacterial genetics in the Department of Genetics and Peter Andrew, professor of microbial pathogenesis in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, said, “Urbanization in megacities with extreme levels of air pollution are major risk factors for human health in many parts of the world. Our research seeks to lead and participate in international research consortia of biologists, chemists, clinician, social scientists and urban planners. Together we will investigate how increasing urbanization promotes infectious disease.”

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The World Health Organization describes air pollution as the “largest single environmental health risk.” Air pollution is thought to be responsible for at least 7 million deaths per year, which equates to an eighth of all global deaths. The UK and many other countries around the world continue to breach the recommended pollution limits set by the World Health Organization.

Professor Paul Monks, vice chancellor and head of the College of Science and Engineering, who is a leading expert on air pollution added, “The lead investigators have brought together their expertise in genetics, microbiology and air pollution chemistry to provide truly multidisciplinary ground breaking insights. This research has significant potential to initiate a global research effort to understand a hitherto unknown effect of air pollution and provide significant additional impetus to the control of pollution.”

The four-year study was conducted by a University of Leicester’s College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology PhD studentship,
and research grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Source: University of Leicester

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Granada Hills Residents say something Stinks – Air Quality

Los Angeles Air Quality Problems and Indoor Odors - Indoor Environmental ConcernsResidents in the north end of the San Fernando Valley have realized that something stinks and its not just their trash cans.  Sources indicate that the AQMD – Air Quality Management District has already been notified by homeowners that gasses and odors persist within their community.  In a last ditch effort to gain some recognition the residents have filed a lawsuit against the Sunshine Canyon landfill.

“This is one of the most significant environmental problems in Los Angeles,” said Deputy City Attorney William Carter, who says their independent research shows there are “significant odor problems.”

The South Coast Air Management district has already slapped more than $450,000 in fines on the smelly landfill to pay for research, gather information and hopefully improve air quality.  On most days homeowners and occupants notice a smell outdoors and sometimes even indoors.  “Republic is making progress in addressing the main cause of the odor – landfill gas – by increasing the volume of the gas captured by its trash system, Atwood said. That mandate was sought by AQMD.” Dailynews.com

The AQMD says they aren’t “aware of any criminal conduct on the part of landfill operators,” but that there’s nothing stopping the city from pursuing civil charges.

As on of the largest dumps in the country, Sunshine Canyon was formed in 2009 from two landfills–one within the Los Angeles city limits and one under the county’s jurisdiction–merged operations. Sunshine Canyon takes in 9,000 tons of garbage each day.”  LA Curbed

It is a great to see the community coming together to face a common goal and effectively work with each other, the city attorney, and the air quality management district to curb air quality problems.

Fun Guy Mold Inspection and Consulting LLC provided several mold inspections on homes with similar complaints from the homeowners, “indicating a smell could be identified and lingered from time to time.”S. Daughtry  Indoor air quality problems and odors can be created from water damage and mold.  Although minor moisture damage was observed during these mold inspections (within some of the homes) no major mold problems were detected.

Continual maintenance of your home can prevent common indoor air quality problems by reducing indoor allergens, dust bunnies and more.

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Simi Valley(805) 579-7267www.wmsolutions.com/Calabasas Land Fill5300 Lost Hills Road
Agoura Hills(818) 889-0363www.lacsd.org/

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