C[O.sub.2] and Lung Function: An in Vivo Exploration of Potential Climate Change Implications.

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Date: Mar. 2021
From: Environmental Health Perspectives(Vol. 129, Issue 3)
Publisher: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Document Type: Report
Length: 1,070 words
Lexile Measure: 2620L

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Atmospheric carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]) hit a milestone in 2015, when global average concentrations reached 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history. (1) By 2100, the global average could more than double if emissions remain unabated, according to the RCP8.5 ("business as usual") scenario used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its assessments. (2) Although much attention has been paid to the effect of C[O.sub.2] as a climate forcing agent, multiple reports suggest this greenhouse gas also may have direct health effects. (3) A recent report in Environmental Health Perspectives used a mouse model to assess the pulmonary effects of chronic exposure to ambient C[O.sub.2] at concentrations comparable to those projected by climate modeling. (4)

A 2019 review in Nature Sustainability summarized evidence on the effects on lung function of very high (>1,000 ppm), acute C[O.sub.2] exposures. (3) In contrast, current report is the first known study to directly assess the physiological impact of long-term exposure to C[O.sub.2] concentrations that are realistically possible in the near future, says first author Alexander Larcombe, an associate professor at the Telethon Kids Institute and Wal-yan Respiratory Research Center in Nedlands, Australia.

In the new study, investigators exposed adult female mice and their offspring to either control (approximately 465 ppm) or elevated (approximately 890 ppm) concentrations of C[O.sub.2]. Dams began exposure with a 1-week acclimation period before mating, and offspring were exposed from preconception to adulthood. At postnatal week 12, the investigators assessed the offspring's respiratory function and lung structure. To compare the effects of exposure during lung development versus exposure during adulthood, they also examined the dams'...

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