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Air pollution is bad for blood pressure

Researchers tracked a group of people with “air-pollution vests” to continuously monitor exposure to air pollution. They found that exposure to air pollution affected systolic blood pressure.

The air pollution study

Researcher Dr Brook released the results as part of their Detroit Exposure and Aerosol Research Study on the American Heart Association website.

The researchers fitted 65 people with “air-pollution vests” which they had to wear continuously in order to monitor exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollutants. The vest were worn continually for 5 days in summer and 5 days in winter, only taking the vests off to shower or sleep, where they kept the vests close to them. The people were aged between 19 and 80 years living in Detroit, USA.

A 10- g/m3 increase in personal exposure in the study was linked with blood vessel diameter narrowing within 2 days of the exposure and increased systolic blood pressure (by 1.6 mm Hg) after 1 day of exposure.

Researchers comments

Researcher member Dr Bard reported, “We found that the average person in our study had increased blood pressure and reduced endothelial function from the air they were exposed to in the previous 24 hours. And importantly, these results were shown despite levels of ambient air pollution that were at or below those recommended in the current EPA guidelines.”


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