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THE LASTING THREAT OF AIR POLLUTION ON HUMAN HEALTH

A new study has alarmingly suggested that short-term exposure to air pollution could increase a person's risk of irregular heartbeat or blood clots in the lung.

Experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have analyzed the biological impact of short-term air pollution on cardiovascular events.

The researched has used data from databases across England and Wales about heart attacks, hospital admissions and deaths for the period 2003 to 2009 and comparing them to pollution phenomena recorded by the UK Air Quality Information Archive.

The experts linked these outcomes to average levels of air pollutants over a period of five days from the monitoring station nearest to the place of residence of people.

In particular, these researches have examined different kind of air pollutants including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter less than 10 micrometres in aerodynamic diameter (PM10), particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, and ozone.

The study has found no clear relation with any air pollutant for cardiovascular deaths, with the exception of PM2.5 linked to an increased risk of irregular heart rhythms, irregular heartbeat and blood clots in the lungs.

On the other hand, researchers linked nitrogen dioxide to an increased risk of a hospital admission for cardiovascular problems, among which heart failure, and an increased risk of a particular type of heart attack.

Moreover, the study has estimated that outdoor air pollution was the main cause of deaths of 3.7 million people globally during 2012.

In this framework, English health officials have recently stressed the importance for local authorities to undertake stronger measures in order to protect people from air pollution.

ThePublic Health England (PHE) has revealed that long-term exposure to air pollution caused around 25,000 deaths in England in 2010.

Although air quality had significantly improved in the UK over recent decades thanks to cleaner technology and stricter environmental legislation, the PHE has warned that local action should strengthened in order to cut the emissions of manmade particles reducing people's exposure to air pollution.

 

The gLAWcal Team

Thursday, 12 June 2014

(Source: The Guardian)