Many factors are associated with the risk of developing a disease of the respiratory system, including genetics and birth factors such as prematurity, but environmental factors also play a major role. Exposure to chemical and particulate pollutants has been shown to be strongly connected to the risk of certain respiratory system diseases that are otherwise rare: examples include tobacco smoke and lung cancer, asbestos and mesothelioma, and flavoring chemicals and bronchiolitis obliterans. Even a common disease like asthma has been shown to be strongly related to exposure to particular matter (e.g., exhaust from diesel-powered vehicles) and inhaled allergens, although the specific allergens vary from one person to another. For these reasons, control of air pollution and of occupational and home exposures is critical if we ...

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