Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Air pollution increases death risk in people with certain diseases

23.05.2006


People with diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of death when they are exposed to particulate air pollution, or soot, for one or more years, according to a study to be presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference on May 22nd.



The study looked at hospital discharges for people with these four types of diseases living in 34 cities between 1985 and 1999. The researchers compared this information with 12-month averages of PM10, a type of particulate matter air pollution that includes particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less than 0.0004 inches or one-seventh the width of a human hair.

The study found that for an increase of 10 micrograms/per cubic meter of PM10 over two years, the risk of dying was increased by:


32% for people with diabetes
28% for people with COPD
27% in people with congestive heart failure
22% for people with inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus

"The study significantly strengthens evidence that breathing in particulate matter is associated with dying sooner," said researcher Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

"While previous studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with increased risk of death, we looked at risk of death in the first three years after patients were discharged from the hospital, and saw that the risk increased in the first couple of years. That means if we can lower air pollution levels, people will start living longer right away--we don’t have to wait many years to see health improvements. That wasn’t clear from previous air pollution studies."

Technology that can reduce particulate matter levels already exists, Dr. Schwartz noted. "For instance, we know how to put scrubbers on coal-burning power plants, which are a major source of particulate matter. There is no safe level of particulate air pollution, so we need to get the levels as low as reasonably possible."

While previous studies have linked exposure to PM10 to harmful effects on breathing and respiratory systems, damage to lung tissue, cancer, and premature death, this is the first study to follow people with specific diseases to determine their risk of death in response to particle exposure, Dr. Schwartz said.

He noted an important difference between this new study and past air pollution studies. "Past studies have compared average air pollution conditions in one city to other cities, and you need to worry about potential confounders, or other factors that could affect the differences between the cities," he said. "In this study, we looked at air pollution and deaths within each city--we didn’t compare across cities, so we didn’t need to worry about confounding factors."

The study helps validate the findings of previous studies that have shown that long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with shortened survival in the general population, said Dr. Schwartz, a co-author of the Six Cities Study, which evaluated the effects of pollution on adults in the 1970s and 1980s. The results of that study found a strong, positive correlation between levels of air pollution and mortality. The study led to a revision of existing air quality standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An eight-year follow up study found an association between people living longer and cities reducing the amount of fine particulate matter in their air. That study was published in the March 15, 2006 issue of the American Thoracic Society journal, The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Jim Augustine | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.earthlink.net
http://www.thoracic.org/

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>