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Atmosphere 2016, 7(12), 158;

A Systematic Review of Global Desert Dust and Associated Human Health Effects

Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
Department of Pathophysiology, Norman Bethune Medical School, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
U.S. NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, College Park, MD 20740, USA
Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Beijing Municipal Institute of Labor Protection, Beijing 100054, China
Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, The Second Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun 130041, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marina Astitha and George Kallos
Received: 28 July 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 6 December 2016
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Dust storms and sandy dust events originating in arid and semi-arid areas can transport particulate material, pollutants, and potential transport long distances from their sources. Exposure to desert dust particles is generally acknowledged to endanger human health. However, most studies have examined anthropogenic particulate sources, with few studies considering contributions from natural desert dust. A systematic literature review was undertaken using the ISI Web of Knowledge and PubMed databases with the objective of identifying all studies presenting results on the potential health impact from desert dust particles across the world. This review reveals an imbalance between the areas most exposed to dust and the areas most studied in terms of health effects. Among the human health effects of dust storms are mortality and morbidity, arising from respiratory system, circulatory system, and other diseases. We summarize the quantitative results of current scientific health research and possible pathological mechanisms, and describe some of the many challenges related to understanding health effects from exposures to desert dust particles. Overall, for respiratory and circulatory mortality, both positive and negative associations have been reported for PM10 of desert dust, but only a positive relationship was reported between PM2.5–10 and mortality, and a positive relationship was also reported between PM2.5 and human mortality. Future pathological studies should continue to focus on those mechanisms causing the most harmful effect of desert dust on respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. More attention should also be paid to the association between desert dust and the morbidity of other diseases, such as those affecting the reproductive system and nervous system. View Full-Text
Keywords: desert dust; health effects; quantitative analysis; geographical distribution; mortality; morbidity; pathological mechanism desert dust; health effects; quantitative analysis; geographical distribution; mortality; morbidity; pathological mechanism

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Zhang, X.; Zhao, L.; Tong, D.Q.; Wu, G.; Dan, M.; Teng, B. A Systematic Review of Global Desert Dust and Associated Human Health Effects. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 158.

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