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Question:
I live on the polluted east side of Moscow between factories and the MKAD. Since moving here I've had bronchitis, strange headaches, sore throats, and just haven't felt like taking a deep breath for a while. None of this is normal for me. I can't do much about outdoor air, but I'd like to improve the air inside my apartment. (I open the windows often since I don't have air conditioning.) I'm considering getting a household air filter in Europe or the U.S. But most of the information about them mentions that they help prevent allergies and the spread of disease. They don't usually mention pollution, ozone, carbon monoxide,formaldehyde, coal dust. Would any kind of air filter do any good? Exactly which substances cause the worst of Moscow's air pollution? Do you recommend looking anywhere else for an answer? Thanks so much.
RLS 
Answer:
Thank you very much for this pertinent question. Some of the symptoms you describe sound like bronchial irritation. Pulmonary function tests could be considered to assess if you objectively have asthma. You may want to consider carbon monoxide levels also as you describe headaches. The specific pollutants are varied and are in the catagories of aromatic hydrocarbons (exhaust fumes), nitrogen dioxide, phenols, ammonia,and several others. The attached websites may give you more detailed information.There has been some studies that active charcoal filters help reduce symptoms in persons exposed to diesel exhaust. HEPA filters (trade name) have been shown to be useful in trapping fine airborn particles. These can be found through retailers listed in the Moscow Businesss Guide section #75 "Air Cleaning Systems". I hope this information will be of help to you to improve your living environment. Kind Regards http://alumni.caltech.edu/~kap/travel/russia/pollution.html http://www.md.mos.ru/eng/ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10450238&dopt=Abstract http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/1994/Suppl-4/khesina.html
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