According to the British government, the Ozone concentration in southern England on Thursday was nearly twice the World Health Organization’s guidelines and the highest its been since 2006, just in time for the start of the Summer 2012 London Olympics.
The increased pollution, coupled with a heat wave, is expected to make things much more difficult for athletes competing in the games:
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, [exercise-induced bronchoconstriction or EIB] affects an estimated 20% of top athletes and an estimated 1 in 6 of all Olympic athletes.
“It has been well documented that elite athletes in the Olympics have an increased prevalence of EIB. They may not have suspected it, since they don’t have chronic asthma but rather a narrowing of the airways that comes specifically with exercise,” explained William S. Silvers, MD, FAAAAI, of the AAAAI’s Sports Medicine Committee.
An added concern for athletes with asthma and EIB is the amount of pollution in London, which may cause symptoms to worsen. Ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide and other pollutants can inflame the airways of sensitive people and even cause an asthma attack.
Professor Frank Kelly, Director of King’s College London’s Environmental ...