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Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
Date:11/12/2008

Researchers in Detroit say it detected additional cardiovascular damage

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have used the novel idea of a "pollution vest" to determine that individual exposure to air pollution can harm a person's heart health beyond whatever damage that community-level exposure can cause.

"The challenge of air pollution is that what people are exposed to and what most studies talk about . . . rarely represent the micro environment of what's in your house," explained American Heart Association spokesman Dr. Russell Luepker, Mayo professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. "People have been working to try to get individual monitors that people can wear, so they can know what people are really inhaling as opposed to what they might be inhaling a mile away from where the monitor was."

"People shouldn't panic, but it's important that people be aware that air pollution is a contributor to cardiovascular disease," said Robert Bard, co-investigator of a study that was presented Wednesday at the heart association's annual scientific sessions, in New Orleans. "Things people can do include supporting legislation for cleaner air initiatives and, if somebody has cardiovascular disease, they may consider avoiding exposures to air pollution during peak levels, because this can potentially be a trigger for a cardiovascular event. Things everyone can do include limiting commutes and contributing less to production of pollutants."

Previous research has drawn an association between fine particulate matter air pollution and an increased risk for cardiovascular events.

It's unclear however, if daily changes in particulate matter might affect the heart and if ambient (outside) sources of air pollution have different effects than non-ambient (inside) sources.

The authors of this study were able to determine just that.

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