Examinations of Egyptian mummies show that they were exposed to heavy air pollution while still alive. The study, conducted on mummies of various ages and across a spectrum of social classes, demonstrates that Egyptians were exposed to heavy air pollution.
Interestingly, the levels of air pollution in ancient Egypt were not much lower than the are in the modern world. Exposure to such particulates would have increased rates of lung disease – infection, pneumonia, cancer, and so forth.
Archaeologists are planning to continue their studies on ancient air pollution and focus especially on the sources. You can read more about this study on MSNBC.