Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air Pollution's Impact On The Heart Is As Bad As Having Been A Smoker

Date:
December 16, 2003
Source:
New York University Medical Center And School Of Medicine
Summary:
In a follow-up analysis of the most extensive study of its kind on the long-term effects of air pollution on human health, researchers have found that people living in U.S. cities face an increased risk of dying from a heart attack as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution.

In a follow-up analysis of the most extensive study of its kind on the long-term effects of air pollution on human health, researchers have found that people living in U.S. cities face an increased risk of dying from a heart attack as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution. This increased risk was found to be as large as that associated with being a former smoker. The new analysis is published as a study in the rapid access issue of the journal Circulation, published by the American Heart Association.

"It is clear that long-term exposure to the levels of air pollution that Americans are routinely exposed to is a significant contributor to ischemic heart disease," says George Thurston, Sc.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, and one of the new study's authors. "When we looked at the data, we observed that the increased risk of dying from some forms of heart disease among non-smokers living in polluted cities is roughly comparable to the increased risk caused by being a former smoker."

The new analysis is based on data collected by the American Cancer Society (ACS) on the cause of death of some 500,000 adults over a 16-year period from 1982 to 1998 and on data on pollution levels in cities nationwide. These data sets were also the basis for an earlier study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2002. The JAMA study showed that over many years, the danger of breathing soot-filled air in American cities significantly raised the risk of dying from lung cancer and heart disease, and the risk was comparable to the health risks of living with a smoker.

The new analysis by researchers George Thurston of New York University School of Medicine, and Arden Pope of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, (both Drs. Thurston and Pope were authors of the JAMA study), and by colleagues from other institutions, further categorized the cause of death in the group of 500,000 adults. They identified death from ischemic heart disease (i.e., heart failure resulting from decreased oxygen supply to the heart muscle), and death from other forms of heart disease, such as hypertension, and aortic aneurysms (bulges in the aorta). They also looked at diseases of the respiratory system that were listed as the primary cause of death on death certificates.

They found that long-term exposure to tiny particles of soot and dust, or PM2.5, was linked to a 31 percent increase in the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, including fatal myocardial infarctions. This risk is comparable to the increased risk of dying of ischemic heart disease found by this study to be associated with being a former smoker (33 percent). The researchers based this calculation on an average mean of 17.1 micrograms of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) per cubic meter in the air of 51 metropolitan areas in the study across the nation. These metro areas include some 319,000 individuals who were part of the earlier study. They used this group because pollution data were available for these cities at both the start and end of the study, allowing the best characterization of long-term PM2.5 exposure in these cities.

Previous studies have linked chronic exposure to small particles in the air to death from heart disease and lung cancer. However, these earlier studies did not include such a large and well-characterized cohort of participants as the ACS cohort does. Consequently, the previous studies could not meaningfully investigate these sub-categories of mortality, such as ischemic heart disease, in order to evaluate the underlying mechanisms of causing deaths associated with air pollution. This study is the first to provide such insight into the origins of this association, and therefore the first also to allow detailed comparisons with other causes of cardiac death, such as smoking.

In addition to Drs. Thurston and Pope, the authors of the study are: Richard Burnett, Ph.D., an Daniel Krewski, Ph.D. of University of Ottawa; Michael Thun, and Eugenia Calle, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society; and John Godleski, M.D., of Harvard Medical School.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University Medical Center And School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York University Medical Center And School Of Medicine. "Air Pollution's Impact On The Heart Is As Bad As Having Been A Smoker." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031216074538.htm>.
New York University Medical Center And School Of Medicine. (2003, December 16). Air Pollution's Impact On The Heart Is As Bad As Having Been A Smoker. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031216074538.htm
New York University Medical Center And School Of Medicine. "Air Pollution's Impact On The Heart Is As Bad As Having Been A Smoker." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031216074538.htm (accessed October 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins