EVERYDAY exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, allergens, and air pollution may be the root of chronic cases of laryngitis, says new research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in Chicago, IL.* Laryngitis symptoms include hoarseness of the voice, cough, and chronic clearing of the throat. Researchers and physicians generally attribute laryngitis 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 models that exposure to different environmental pollutants, including dust mites and everyday air pollution, can cause what they term as "environmental laryngitis." The findings are significant, given recent reports on diminishing air quality and increased unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution, especially in countries like China, which could lead to more cases of laryngitis and chronic laryngitis.              - SD