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/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary
21.09.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht First users at European XFEL
21.09.2017 | European XFEL GmbH

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: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>