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Air and Human Beings : from the Physiological Viewpoint

  • UCHIYAMA Iwao
    Department of Occupational Health, National Institute of Public Health

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Other Title
  • 空気とヒト : 生理的立場から
  • クウキ ト ヒト--セイリテキ タチバ カラ

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Abstract

We usually need about fifteen cubic meters of air per day, and inspire 410 thousand cubic meters of air in our lifetime. Ambient air consists of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and other trace gases, and also contains many kinde of manmade hazardous chemicals and particulate matter. It is important to recognize the mechanism of respiration and gas exchange in order to know the relationships between human beings and air. Respiration in a narrow sense means external respiration, that is gas exchange between air and the human body. The airway system starts from the nose and mouth to the trachea. It is divided into two bronchi and reaches the alveoli. They are formed of single respiratory epitherial cells, and their total surface area is about 100 square meters. Alveoli are surrounded, by many capifiary vessels, through which carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged. The meanings of several terms of pulmonary functions and oxygen partial pressure in the air are reported, and the transportation and fate in the human body of hazardous chemicals and particulate matter are described.

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