Air Monitoring

  • New link found between air quality and health issues
    Air pollution has been linked to a number of health issues

New link found between air quality and health issues

Jun 05 2014 Read 1921 Times

Air pollution has been found to increase the chances of developing blood clots in the lungs, according to new research. A recent study has suggested that air quality can have an effect on the heart, with high levels leading to an irregular heartbeat, as well as on the lungs. Both increased risks have huge health connotations.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analysed data from England and Wales that was collected between 2003 and 2009. The data looked at links between short-term high air pollution and heart problems. 

It was revealed that short periods of high air pollution can result in arrhythmia - abnormal heart rhythm - and blood clots in the lungs. It was found that the elderly were most at risk from these complications, with women over the age of 75 having the strongest link, according to Dr Ai Milojevic, lead researcher, who spoke to the BBC.

"Our study found some evidence of air pollution effects on irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) but no clear evidence on heart attack (Myocardial Infarction) and stroke which represents ultimately blood clotting process[es]," she told the news provider.

 "Elderly people and hospital patients with chronic ischaemic heart disease or irregular heartbeat are observed to be at particular risk."  

Air pollutants that can cause health implications include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter - both PM10 and PM2.5. Ozone and sulphur dioxide also have an impact on human health in both short-term high doses and through long-term exposure.

The researchers stated that there does not seem to be a link between short-term high levels of air pollution and the increased risk of heart attack and stroke. However, they did find a link between the levels of particulate matter present in the air and an increased risk of pulmonary embolism and atrial fibrillation.

Poor air quality has also been linked to cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems, especially in city regions.

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