T.-Y. Wong


Smog is created through the interactions between pollutants in the air, fog, and sunlight. Air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, heavy metals, nitrogen oxides, ozone, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic vapors, and particulate matters, can induce oxidative stress in human directly or indirectly through the formation of reactive oxygen species. The outermost boundary of human skin and mucous layers are covered by a complex network of human-associated microbes. The relation between these microbial communities and their human host are mostly mutualistic. These microbes not only provide nutrients, vitamins, and protection against other pathogens, they also influence human's physical, immunological, nutritional, and mental developments. Elements in smog can induce oxidative stress to these microbes, leading to community collapse. Disruption of these mutualistic microbiota may introduce unexpected health risks, especially among the newborns and young children. Besides reducing the burning of fossil fuels as the ultimate solution of smog formation, advanced methods by using various physical, chemical, and biological means to reduce sulfur and nitrogen contains in fossil fuels could lower smog formation. Additionally, information on microbiota disruption, based on functional genomics, culturomics, and general ecological principles, should be included in the risk assessment of prolonged smog exposure to the health of human populations. © 2017

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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