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Truth Behind the Headlines: Air pollution and lung disease

News sites are claiming that people with diabetes who live in an area with high levels of ozone pollution may have an increased risk of interstitial lung disease.


They say that ozone pollution may a have a negative health effect in the deep lung tissue, which can cause difficulty breathing due to lung restrictions and stiffness. 

Using our recommended five tips, Global Action Plan reviewed the study:


Questions to ask to get to the truth Our response
1. Does the article refer to a report to back up its claims?

The article refers to the study Repetitive Ozone Exposures and Evaluation of Pulmonary Inflammation and Remodeling in Diabetic Mouse Strains published in Environmental Health Perspectives

2. Who is behind the study it refers to?

Researchers at Michigan State University are behind the study.

3. How fantastical and radical is the claim that is being made?

The research was conducted on three strains of mice, with different insulin resistance, to test how diabetes changed their response to exposure to ozone. The mice were exposed to ozone for four hours a day for three weeks.  The scientists then analysed tissue samples from the mice.


The research showed that the mice with diabetes had earlier and more exaggerated responses to ozone, such as swelling in the lungs. They say that their results support the associations being made in the scientific community among air pollution, diabetes, and lung disease.

4. What geographical region does the claim refer to?

The study is completed in mice and does not have a geographical region.

5. What is the sample size of the study?

The researchers exposed 24 mice to ozone for 13 consecutive weekdays.

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