Laryngitis joins ailments pinned on pollution

Pollution, allergens and passive smoking could be to blame for long-lasting and recurrent cases of laryngitis, say American doctors.

Airborne toxic gases and fine soot – particulate matter – can be the root cause of all manner of ailments from heart disease to asthma.

Now research from the American Academy of Otolaryngology, or head and neck surgery, have published research suggesting that many cases of laryngitis can be put down to poor environmental conditions rather than the usual list of suspects for the ailment.

Laryngitis symptoms include hoarseness of the voice, cough, and chronic clearing of the throat which researchers and doctors generally attribute to a viral infection and overuse of the voice.

Other factors, including consistent exposure to second-hand smoke, have also been cited as a trigger.

Researchers have now found through animal experiments that exposure to different environmental pollutants, including dust mites and everyday air pollution, can cause what they term “environmental laryngitis.”

According to the AAO, the findings are significant, given recent reports on diminishing air quality and increased unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution, especially in emerging economies like China, which could lead to more cases of laryngitis and chronic laryngitis in particular.

Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie