In a new study, researchers found that there is an increased risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) even from short-term exposure to low concentrations of fine particulate matter PM2.5.
The findings note an association with gaseous pollutants such as those from coal-burning/mining, bushfires, and motor vehicles.
The study provides comprehensive evidence of the relationship between PM2.5 and cardiac arrests, using a sample three times larger than all previous research combined and demonstrating the impacts on groups such as the elderly.
The research was led by the University of Sydney.
Previous research into air pollution and acute cardiac events had been inconsistent, especially at air concentrations that met or bettered the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
In this study, the team found that more than 90% of OHCAs occurred at PM2.5 levels lower than the WHO guideline (and Australian standard level), a daily-average of 25 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3).
As well, 98% of OHCAs happened at levels lower than the Japanese or American daily standard level of 35 μg/m3.
Given the fact that there is a tendency towards worsening air pollution—from increasing numbers of cars as well as disasters such as bushfires—the impacts on heart disease events, in addition to respiratory diseases and lung cancer—must be taken into account in health care responses.
The team says that where cardiovascular impacts were concerned, those generally at risk were the elderly
There is an “urgent” need to improve air quality. As no boundary exists in air quality among countries, a global approach to tackle this crucial health issue is necessary for our planet.
The lead author of the study is Professor Kazuaki Negishi.
The study is published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
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