The Italian Society of Pneumology – Italian Respiratory Society SIP/IRS has cross-referenced data from various studies in Italy and abroad and the verdict is unequivocal: “The quality of the air determines the health of the individual. The respiratory health of Italians is getting worse and there is a direct link between prolonged exposure to pollution and respiratory diseases that reduce quality and life expectancy, while global warming and exceptional weather phenomena could further contribute to the concentration of pollutants ” testifies Dr. Francesco Pistelli, medical director of the UO of University Pneumology, AOU Pisana.

Also for this reason, SIP/IRS has launched a set of awareness-raising activities towards the care of the environment and consequent respiratory health, in collaboration with FIP – the Italian Federation of Pneumology ONLUS and AIPO – the Italian Association of Hospital Pulmonologists. Alongside local initiatives that have already taken place in Puglia and Sicily, the broadcasting of the social spot “Health passes through a breath” will resume on RAI television channels in the autumn. The social spot, already broadcast on La7 and Sky from 23 April to 6 May and on Mediaset channels from 30 April to 6 May, intends to make viewers aware of the importance of preventing diseases of the respiratory system; helps to disseminate key information on various lung diseases; and finally, to increase the level of awareness and knowledge of the various pathologies that silently or manifestly threaten the respiratory system. Among the most important factors contributing to the increase in respiratory diseases is air pollution. There is clear evidence of a causal relationship between exposure to air pollution and mortality from all causes, lower respiratory tract infections, COPD, asthma, and cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lungs. A recent report by the American Thoracic Society (ATS) concluded that exposure to air pollution causes airway remodeling, which can lead to the onset of asthma or COPD, as well as asthmatic phenotypes that worsen after exposure to long term to air pollutants, specifically fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3).

In Italy, very recent studies have brought new evidence on the association between pollution and hospitalization and mortality from respiratory diseases, not only in urbanized areas, but also in suburban areas. The same studies showed statistically significant increases in patients suffering from allergic rhinitis and asthma due to exposure to particulate matter (17% and 25%, respectively) and NO2 (7% for both diseases) and chronic bronchitis/COPD for exposure to NO2 (22%).

Finally, the association between chronic exposure to PM10 and a 2.96 risk of developing COPD and between exposure to PM2.5 and a 2.25 risk of developing rhinitis and 4.17 of developing sputum was confirmed. chronic.

“Faced with this scenario, the role of the Italian Society of Pneumology SIP – IRS must be to stimulate the knowledge and awareness of doctors, citizens and institutions with concrete initiatives” underlines the president of the Sip / IRS Professor Carlo Vancheri.

Among these are: the initiative “A tree to breathe”, in collaboration with the Italian Association of Hospital Pulmonologists (AIPO) and Legambiente, which saw the planting of 300 trees in Puglia and Sicily and which will continue on the territory national to improve the air and help stem the imbalances of climate change given that a single tree can compensate for the production of 700 kg of CO2; the presentation of the document CAMBIARE (acronym for climate change, air pollution and respiratory health), at the last National Congress of Pneumology which was held in Acireale (CT) of which the poster is available, downloadable from the SIP website, defines in concise and communicative way the effects of atmospheric pollution on the climate and on health, in particular respiratory health; the signing by SIP-IRS of the Appeal of the Medical-Scientific Associations and Societies and of the National Federation of Orders of Surgeons and Dentists – FNOMCEO participating in the Italian Medical Days for the Environment (GIMA), held in Pisa on last April 21-22, 2023 indicates 7 actions useful both to reduce air pollution and to mitigate climate change. This context includes the launch on the main national television broadcasters of the social spot “Health passes through a breath” already aired on La7 and SKY and on Mediaset channels in May 2023 which will be re-proposed on RAI channels starting next autumn.

“The unequivocal message that must emerge – concluded President Vancheri – is to be aware of the damage to health that air pollution can cause. It is a threat that is unseen and untouched, but which acts to cause many early deaths that can and should be prevented.”

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