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

participants in the cardiovascular sub-study of the Detroit Exposure and Aerosol Research Study (DEARS) wore vests outfitted with monitors to collect both personal and community-based levels of air pollutants on five consecutive days during both the summer and the winter.

All volunteers were nonsmokers and lived in nonsmoking households in three different areas of Detroit.

"We specifically looked at the pollution they were individually exposed to," explained Bard, who is a research associate in the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

The average person in the study experienced increased blood pressure (1.6 millimeter of mercury) and a narrowing of blood vessels related to personal air pollution within two days of exposure. These changes could lead to heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, the authors stated.

Broader, community exposure was linked with poorer blood vessel functioning, but not higher blood pressure.

The air pollution measured was within parameters considered acceptable by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

And almost one-third of volunteers were exposed to secondhand smoke, even though they were nonsmokers living in nonsmoking households.

According to the study authors, a 10-microgram per cubic meter increase in air pollution at the community level leads to a 1 percent chance of dying the day after exposure, amounting to about one extra death per day in an area of 1 million to 5 million people.

More information

Learn more about air pollution, heart disease and stroke at the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Robert L. Bard, M.S., research associate, division of cardiovascular medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor; Russell V. Luepker, M.D
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