Ozone and high ventilation effects on pulmonary function and endurance performance

W. C. Adams, Edward S Schelegle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Ozone (O3) toxicity is potentiated by exercise-induced expired minute ventilation (VE) for a given exposure, which may also impair endurance performance. Ten healthy, well-trained long-distance runners were exposed on six occasions for 1 h to O3 concentrations of 0, 0.20, or 0.35 parts per million (ppm), during exercise simulating either training or competition, with mean VE = 77.5 l·min-1. Standard pulmonary function tests, subjective symptoms, and periodic observations of exercise ventilatory response and respiratory metabolism were obtained. Statistical analyses revealed no significant exercise mode effect for pulmonary function, but a significant O3 effect for forced vital capacity and expiratory volume at 1 s was observed. Altered exercise ventilatory pattern response was noted, but there was no significant O3 effect on exercise oxygen uptake, heart rate, VE, or alveolar ventilation. Statistically significant pulmonary function impairment observed at 0.20 ppm O3 suggests that endurance athletes may be more susceptible to the effects of a given O3 concentration than normal young adult males as a result of sustained high mean VE incurred during training and competition. Three subjects were unable to complete both the training and competitive simulations at 0.35 ppm O3. Performance decrements appeared to be the result of physiologically induced respiratory discomfort rather than decrements in pulmonary gas exchange and/or oxygen transport and delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-812
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology


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