Biased air pollutants

Increases due to global warming, claims study

Published: Thursday 15 September 2005

-- a us study has found the link between particulate matter (pm) and fatal coronary heart disease (chd) is stronger in women than in men, and women who live in areas with greater air pollution showed a higher susceptibility to developing and dying from chd.

"To our knowledge, no other cohort study on the health effects of ambient air pollution has reported gender specific risks for chd mortality," said lead author Lie Hong Chen, who works at the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, Loma Linda University in the us . The findings of the long-term study from 1976 to 1998 were published online in Environmental Health Perspectives on August 2, 2005.

Researchers estimated the monthly concentration of pm (pm10 and pm2.5, particulate matter with diameter less than 10 micrometre (m) and 2.5 m respectively) and gases such as ozone (o3). For a 10 g/m3 increase in pm2.5 and pm10, they found the relative risk of fatal chd in females (relative to men) was 1.42 and 1.45 respectively that increased to two fold in presence of o3. "The modifying effect of o3 can possibly be explained by findings indicating that lung epithelial permeability increases with exposure to oM3, thus making the body more susceptible to intrusion of pm," says Chen. The risk estimates were strengthened further when only postmenopausal females were studied.

Researchers studied data from 3,239 non-smoking, non-Hispanic whites (aged 25 years or older) and found 155 fatal chd cases in females and 95 among males, which together accounted for 23.7 per cent of all deaths in the group.

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