-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term exposure
to smog increases the risk of heart attack and angina, the chest
pain associated with heart disease, a new study suggests.
Smog -- also known as particulate air pollution -- is made up of
tiny particles that can easily travel into the lungs.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000
people in Europe with no history of heart disease who were followed
for an average of 11.5 years. During the follow-up period, more
than 5,100 of the participants had coronary events such as heart
attack or angina.
After accounting for several other risk factors such as smoking
and other health problems, the researchers concluded that a 5
micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m3) increase in particulate matter
with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM2.5) was associated
with a 13 percent increased risk of coronary events. Meanwhile, a
10 mcg/m3 increase in larger PM10 particulate matter was associated
with a 12 percent increased risk of coronary events.
The study was published Jan. 21 in the online edition of the
Current annual limits for PM2.5 are 25 mcg/m3 in the European
Union (EU) and 12 mcg/m3 in the United States, according to a
BMJnews release. The World Health Organization's recommended
limit is 10 mcg/m3.
"Our study suggests an association between long-term exposure to particulate matter and incidence of coronary events," wrote Giulia Cesaroni, a senior researcher in the epidemiology department at Lazio Regional Health Service, in Rome, Italy, and colleagues.
The authors added that their findings support the lowering of EU
limits on particulate air pollution to protect public health.
Although the study found an association between long-term
exposure to smog and risk of heart conditions, it did not prove a
It's believed that particulate air pollution causes 3.2 million
deaths worldwide each year, the news release noted.
The American Heart Association has more about
air pollution and heart disease and stroke.
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