Long-term exposure to Air pollution by fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) is a known risk factor for cardiovascular events, but controversy remains as to whether the current standard (12 μg/m3 for the 1-year average of PM 2.5) is protective enough. This was the point of analysis of a new study published in JAMA Network Open.
There, a group of scientists from Kaiser Permanente in California and the Harvard School of Public Healthboth in the United States, have reported that exposure to even small amounts of air pollution can cause heart attacks there strokes potentially fatal.
In their paper, the scientists indicated that people who encounter pollution levels below current US air quality standards are even more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
The results suggest that global regulatory standards are not protective enough and need to be strengthened. These results come from an analysis of 3.7 million of adults in California, one of the largest studies of its kind.
“We found that people exposed to fine particulate air pollution have an increased risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease, even when these exposure levels are below current standards. air quality,” the lead author warned. Stacey Alexeffresearcher and biostatistician at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.
La especialista señaló que esta reciente investigación tiene el potencial de empeñar un papel important “en las conversaciones nacionales en curso dirigidas por la Agencia de Protection Ambiental sobre si ajustar los standards de calidad de l’aire y en qué medida para proteger al público de los efectos de pollution”.
The team analyzed the fine particle levels (PM2.5), the main environmental risk factor for diseases. Less than one-fiftieth the width of a human hair, they enter the blood through the lungs, making it stickier and causing inflammation.
The particles generally come from the diesel fumes, wood smoke, brake pads, tires and road dust. The current annual US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory standard for PM2.5 fine particulate air pollution is 12 micrograms per cubic meter.
However, the study authors found that exposure to a concentration between 12.0 and 13.9 micrograms per cubic meter shows an association with a 10% and 16% increased risk of heart attack and death from heart disease. heart or cardiovascular disease, respectively.
This is in comparison with contamination concentrations below eight micrograms. In January, the EPA announced a proposal to lower the acceptable level on the grounds that public health does not have adequate protection against air pollution.
Participants in the new study lived in California for at least a year, and researchers tracked the data for up to a decade. The rates of mortality heart attacks and heart disease also increased by 6 and 7 percent, respectively, in people exposed to moderate levels of 10 to 11.9 micrograms per cubic meter.
The results suggest there would be health benefits if the new standard was 10 micrograms per cubic meter or less. He increase The risk of heart attacks persisted even at concentrations of 8 to 9.9, indicating that fewer cases would be reported if the new standard was lower than 8 micrograms. The study also linked living in poor neighborhoods to exposure to pollution and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“We found strong evidence that neighborhood matters when it comes to exhibitions to this type of air pollution. The strongest association between pollution exposure and risk of cardiovascular events has been observed among people living in lower socioeconomic areas, where there are often more industries, busier streets and more freeways,” said co-author Stephen Van Den Eeden, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Our study clearly adds to the evidence that current regulatory standards are insufficient to protect the public. Our findings support the EPA’s analysis that the standard needs to be reduced to at least 10.0 micrograms per cubic meter to protect the public. Our results also suggest that the standard may need to be lowered to 8.0 micrograms to reduce heart attack risk,” Alexeeff said.
Lead author Stephen Sidney describes the study as one of the most important to examine the impact air pollution in heart disease. “Kaiser Permanente electronic health records allowed us to take into account other factors that may increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack or developing cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, body mass or other diseases, such as diabetes. This allows us to be confident in our conclusion that fine particulate air pollution has detrimental associations with cardiovascular health,” Sidney concluded.