Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Exposure to air pollution is a major contributor to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worldwide. Indeed, most recent estimates suggest that 50% of the total attributable risk of COPD may be related to air pollution. In response, the GOLD Scientific Committee performed a comprehensive review on this topic, qualitatively synthesized the evidence to date and proffered recommendations to mitigate the risk.The review found that both gaseous and particulate components of air pollution are likely contributors to COPD. There are no absolutely safe levels of ambient air pollution and the relationship between air pollution levels and respiratory events is supra-linear. Wildfires and extreme weather events such as heat waves, which are becoming more common owing to climate change, are major threats to COPD patients and acutely increase their risk of morbidity and mortality. Exposure to air pollution also impairs lung growth in children and as such may lead to developmental COPD.GOLD recommends strong public health policies around the world to reduce ambient air pollution and for implementation of public warning systems and advisories, including where possible the use of personalised apps, to alert patients when ambient air pollution levels exceed acceptable minimal thresholds. When household particulate content exceeds acceptable thresholds, patients should consider using air cleaners and filters where feasible.Air pollution is a major health threat to patients living with COPD and actions are urgently required to reduce the morbidity and mortality related to poor air quality around the world.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Respir J

Publication Date