Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reducing fine particulate air pollution cuts mortality risk

16.03.2006


Investigators who extended the Harvard Six Cities fine particulate air pollution study by eight years found that reduced levels of tiny particle pollution during this period lowered mortality risk for participants.



The results appear in the second issue for March 2006 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

The findings of the original Harvard Six Cities study (1979 to 1990) revealed an association between levels of fine particulate matter pollution and mortality risk. The new study, which was conducted from 1990 to 1998, reports on this later period of reduced air pollution concentration.


Francine Laden, Sc.D., of Channing Laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts, and three associates found that the largest drops in adjusted mortality rates were in cities with the greatest reduction in fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5). The investigators’ findings remained valid even after setting controls for the general increase in adult life expectancy that occurred in the U.S. during both study periods (1979 to 1989 and 1990 to 1998).

"This reduction was observed specifically for deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory disease and not from lung cancer, a disease with a longer latency period and less reversibility," said Dr. Laden.

The study population consisted of 8,096 white participants residing in Watertown, Massachusetts; Kingston and Harriman, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Steubenville, Ohio; Portage, Wyocena, and Pardeeville, Wisconsin; and Topeka, Kansas. The average age of participants at the start of the original study was 50, with women comprising 55 percent of the cohort.

"Current smoking on enrollment ranged from 33 percent in Topeka and 40 percent in Watertown, and former smoking ranged from 21 percent in Harriman to 25 percent in both Topeka and Watertown," said Dr. Laden.

The annual mean concentration of PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) declined during the eight-year study period by 7 micrograms per cubic meter of air per decade in Steubenville, 5 micrograms in St. Louis, 3 micrograms in Watertown, 2 micrograms in Harriman, 1 microgram in Portage and less than a microgram in Topeka.

The improved mortality relative risk due to decreased PM2.5 during the second study period, as compared to the first, was 0.73.

In an editorial on the article in the same issue of the journal, Bert Brunekreef, Ph.D., of the Institute for Risk Assessment Science at the Universiteit Utrecht and the University Medical Center in Utrecht, The Netherlands, wrote:

"The investigators show that the city-specific reduction of PM2.5 was associated with a reduction in mortality rates. The reason why this is so important is that, until now, it was not clear whether the cohort studies were showing effects that resulted from lifetime cumulative exposure. If so, late changes in exposure would have little, if any, effect on survival. These new findings suggest another dynamic--namely that recent exposures do matter. This would be consistent with pollution affecting primarily a dynamic "pool" of susceptible individuals whose susceptibility itself may to some extent have been increased by lifelong, cumulative pollution exposure. We do know that smoking cessation leads to reductions in respiratory, cardiovascular and lung cancer risks, with different lags. The findings in this study, which show no effect on pollution reduction on lung cancer and the strongest effects on respiratory and cardiovascular mortality reduction, seem to show a similar pattern. The practical implication is that pollution reduction, even beyond the relatively low levels that have been achieved in the past half-century, will lead to public health benefits."

Dr. Brunekreef also highlights the study’s limitations: the size of the study population was relatively small; some effects of clear medical importance were not considered statistically significant; and the PM2.5 concentrations during the second phase of the study were estimated. Moreover, because participants in the last phase were not interviewed regularly, potential variables--such as a change in smoking habits--may not be reflected in the data. He concluded that additional studies are needed.

Suzy Martin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.thoracic.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists found a correlation between the structure and magnetic properties of ceramics

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Unique insights into an exotic matter state

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Physicists studied the influence of magnetic field on thin film structures

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>