Ozone pollution connected to cardiovascular health

July 17, 2017
heart
Human heart. Credit: copyright American Heart Association

Exposure to ozone, long associated with impaired lung function, is also connected to health changes that can cause cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke, according to a new study of Chinese adults.

These findings, by a team from Duke University, Tsinghua University, Duke Kunshan University and Peking University, appear in the July 17, 2017 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Ozone is a pollutant formed through a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight interacts with nitrogen oxides and other organic compounds that are generated by coal-burning, vehicle exhaust and some natural sources.

"We know that can damage the respiratory system, reduce and cause asthma attacks," said study author Junfeng (Jim) Zhang, from Duke and Duke Kunshan University. "Here, we wanted to learn whether ozone affects other aspects of human health, specifically the cardiovascular system."

Zhang and colleagues studied 89 healthy adults living in Changsha City, China, for one year. They monitored indoor and outdoor , along with other pollutants. At four intervals, the study team took participant blood and urine samples and used a breathing test called spirometry to examine a set of factors that could contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

The team examined inflammation and oxidative stress, arterial stiffness, , clotting factors and lung function in participants. They noted blood platelet activation (a risk factor for clotting) and an increase in blood pressure, suggesting a possible mechanism by which ozone may affect cardiovascular health. These effects were found with ozone exposure lower than that which affects respiratory health, and lower than current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards.

"This study shows that standards for safe ozone exposure should take into account its effect on risk," said Zhang.

"In 2015, 108 million Americans—one third of the population—lived in counties with ozone levels that exceeded standards set by the EPA," Zhang said. "In contrast, only 31 million Americans live in counties where other pollutants exceed EPA standards."

The production of ozone globally will be exacerbated by a warmer climate, "so it will be an increasing trend with climate change," said Zhang. Ozone is a difficult pollutant to control because its creation in the atmosphere is complex. "For example, a reduction in does not necessarily mean a reduction in ozone levels," Zhang said.

Explore further: Researcher studying air pollution and risk for heart attack and stroke

More information: "Pathophysiologic Mechanisms Underlying Cardiorespiratory Effects of Ozone in healthy Adults," Drew B Day, Jianbang Xiang, Jinhan Mo, Feng Li, Mingkei Chung, Jicheng Gong, Charles Weschler, Pamela A Ohman-Strickland, Jan Sundell, Wenguo Weng, Yinping Zhang Junfeng (Jim) Zhang. JAMA Internal Medicine, July 17, 2017.

Related Stories

Researcher studying air pollution and risk for heart attack and stroke

April 14, 2017
In a report released in 2016, the World Health Organization revealed that more than 90 percent of the world's population live in areas with high levels of air pollution, and that every year, close to three million deaths ...

3 million deaths linked to outdoor air pollution annually

January 13, 2017
In a report released in 2016, the World Health Organization revealed that more than 90 percent of the world's population lives in areas with high levels of air pollution, and that every year, close to three million deaths ...

Long-term exposure to ozone may increase lung and cardiovascular deaths

January 20, 2016
Adults with long-term exposure to ozone (O3) face an increased risk of dying from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, according to the study "Long-Term Ozone Exposure and Mortality in a Large Prospective Study" published ...

Recommended for you

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.