Thursday, February 08, 2007

Study of 66,000. Women Proves Car/Truck Exhaust Causes Heart Disease

Well maybe it didn't exactly PROVE that it causes it, more specifically it showed that women who live in cities where there are higher levels of Exhaust Fine Particle Haze/Smog develop more artery clogging/weakening disease that leads to more strokes and heart attacks (MI for myocardial infarction). “The researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle, say a study they conducted provides evidence of the association between long-term exposure to air pollution and cardiovascular disease.”

The new article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a University of Washington Seattle study of 66,000 women throughout the US over aged 50. The city with the cleanest air..Honolulu has a average "soot/haze" level of 5micrograms/cubic meter. It followed them for about 6 years and at the start of the study they had No “signs” of cardiovascular disease…. The study showed that those that lived in a city say with an average PM2.5 (particulate matter/soot smaller than 2.5microns in size) level of 13micrograms/cubic meter of air (Shreveport,Louisiana's annual average), 76% more of you would develop artery clogging heart disease than if you lived in a city with an average of only 3 micrograms/m3 of air (such as Santa Fe, New Mexico at 3.6 avg, or say in Moosehorn, Maine).

In other words if 100 of you moved from say central city Washington DC (near the Pentagon….the average is 20 ug’s/m3) to a clean air area such as Glacier National Park area or Crescent City California (only around 2 ug’s/m3) then instead of only 10 of you getting heart disease, almost 25 of you would get it !! As you know if something is bad enough for you to cause major artery disease then it’s probably bad for you in other “sub-clinical” ways. So maybe the other 75 are affected by it to different degrees, just not to the severity of being clinically evident. Sort of like if they prove that 10 micrograms of Mercury will cause you to loose your hair and have other organ/brain damage….then 2 micrograms is probably doing severe damage to you just not visibly so.

One article about the same study said it’s a 150% increased risk…equivalent to the added heart disease risk of smoking cigarettes. Also worth mentioning is that it also means increased risk of stroke (where the brain or heart vessel ruptures or tears open)…just in case you have evidence that your arteries are “clear” of any blockages.. I look at it as… if your skin looks like crap… all oxidized and pale or fragile like what we in the health profession call a “smokers face” then it’s possible the other tissues and organs in your body are unhealthy from abuse as well…

Here are excerpts:

“Air Pollution Linked To Heart Disease – Smog Causes Heart Disease Stroke And Death “

“Pollution was assessed by the average number of particulates, which ranged from four to almost 20 micrograms per cubic metre of air. The risk increased by 76 per cent with each 10 microgram step up. For women living in cities, however, the risk more than doubled (128 per cent) with each step up in pollution level. “

“The increased risk comes from tiny airborne particles typically found in engine exhaust. And the damage they cause to arteries in the heart and brain is worse than previously believed, the study found.” "There is no reason to think it isn't the same for men," said Kaufman.

“According to the EPA's 2005 statistics, Los Angeles, Birmingham, Detroit, and Pittsburgh were among the cities with the most fine particulate air pollution. The pollution levels ranged from 18 to 21 micrograms per cubic meter.”

“The scientists analyzed the medical records of nearly 66,000 postmenopausal women from 36 cities and followed them for an average of six years. At the start, none had cardiovascular disease. The researchers took into account nonpollution factors in reporting their results: age, race. smoking, education, income, weight, and the presence of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol………. Pollution exposure was measured using monitors near their homes that looked for airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns, or 1 millionth of a meter, in diameter. About 30 to 40 of the particles would equal the diameter of a human hair. They are invisible except when spewed in large quantities from tailpipes or chimneys, or when they form haze over a city. During the study, 1,816 of the women had heart attacks, strokes or were diagnosed with diseased arteries of the heart or brain.” From:

“….The team, working with the U.S. government-funded Women's Health Initiative, studied the health records of nearly 66,000 women over the age of 50 across the United States.

"We assessed the women's exposure to air pollutants using the monitor located nearest to each woman's residence," the researchers wrote.

Each time the concentration of particulates increased by 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, a woman's risk of dying from heart disease rose by 76 percent, the researchers found.

The particles in question are so tiny that at least 400 laid end-to-end would be needed to cover 1 millimeter (0.04 inch). They come from burning fossil fuels.

The reason the particles increase the risk is not known for certain. Scientists suspect they may cause inflammation in the blood vessels and the lungs, prompting fatty deposits to build up and clog the arteries.”

Buildup of atherosclerotic plaque, measured by the carotid intima–media thickness, is higher in communities with higher mean PM2.5 concentrations.11 Particulate air pollution has been found to lead to rapid and significant increases in fibrinogen, plasma viscosity, platelet activation, and release of endothelins, a family of potent vasoconstrictor molecules.3

PM2.5 was more strongly associated with impaired autonomic cardiovascular function in men with genotypic and phenotypic indicators of increased systemic inflammation and oxidative stress than in those without these markers.10 However, the increased susceptibility was not found among men taking statins, which both improve lipid profiles and reduce systemic inflammation.

"Fine particulate air pollution results not only from the combustion of carbonaceous fuels in our vehicles, power plants, and factories but also from secondary particles produced by oxidation of gaseous pollutants emitted by these same sources. The evidence that has accumulated thus far regarding the health threat from PM2.5 pollution is convincing enough to have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lower the short-term (24-hour) standard for fine particulate concentration that communities must achieve. Unfortunately for public health, the EPA failed to follow the recommendation of its science advisers and reduce the long-term standard for fine particles.12 The findings of the WHI study strongly support the recommendation for tighter standards for long-term fine particulate air pollution.

What to do ?

Take lots of antioxidants, don’t exercise outdoors when levels are up, move to a better city or country…without your suv, buy a hybrid auto like a Toyota Prius or Honda Insight..(97% less Particulates and global warming CO2 emissions), eat less saturated and omega 6 fats, bike to work, take anti-inflammatories like aspirin once every 2 or 3days (check w/doctor first), vote and pressure you legislature and representative to mandate better fuel economy in cars and truck and to force industry (mainly Coal) to use available filtration technologies…and maybe then you won’t succumb to the biggest killer in the US….cardiovascular disease which kills 950,000 of us every year and 1 in 4 people has it now.

Here are more links to the same story: “150% increased risk….”

Seattle today: mind you there are no fires in the area….this is Asian and Local Smog from the burning of fossil fuels: The current pm2.5 level is 12 ug’s/m2, which is below the average for Nashville, Shreveport, Pensacola, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Alexandria LA (all above 12 ug’s/m3 pm2.5).

So for most of you getting this email, this haze level/view is slightly better than your average day.


At 2/08/2007 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've known this for years, yet why has our government still not increased CAFE standards ? Oh I forgot...the oil industry funds our government...duh

At 2/08/2007 6:10 AM, Blogger Richard Chunn Vandiver, D.D.S. said...

Yep pretty much...


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