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Air Pollution Increases Heart Attack, Stroke Risk

Physicians Suggest Limiting Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter

Group: Particle Air Pollution Unsafe

The research team says the current information suggests there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure and that particulate matter should be considered a modifiable risk factor for heart disease.

Based on their findings, the panel recommends:

  • Continued efforts to address other cardiovascular disease risk factors through smoking cessation, weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet to mitigate susceptibility to air pollution.
  • Informing people with, or at high risk for, cardiovascular disease of the dangers associated with air pollution and the steps that can be taken minimize exposure.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that fine particle air pollution contributes to about 800,000 premature deaths per year, making it the 13th leading cause of worldwide mortality. The WHO estimates that by cutting particulate matter pollution from 70 micrograms per cubic meter to 20, air quality-related deaths could be reduced by about 15%.

The American Heart Association and the Environmental Protection Agency are co-sponsoring a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers about the link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease. The AHA statement and related study results will be published in the June 1 issue of Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association.

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