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Pollution could be a risk

The Terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon could affect the mental health of Americans over coming weeks and months. As the dust settles over New York and Washington, psychiatrists warn that people will start to feel the full psychological impact of the disaster. Keeping busy and trying to get the cities back to normal keeps anxiety and grief at bay. And the sheer scale of the tragedy has engendered a kind of emotional numbness in many but this will wear off in time. And it would not just be Inhaling tiny particles of pollution could trigger a heart attack within two hours, suggest a team of researchers. Almost 1300 heart attack victims from Asia were interviewed and asked when they first started feeling the symptoms.

The risk of heart attack was higher among those who had experienced a higher level of small pollution particles called PM2.5s in the two hours before the attack. These fine particles are mainly produced by car engines, power plants, refineries and other industries.//

Professor Douglas Dockery, from the Harvard School of Public Health, believes the PM2.5s are dangerous because they can get into the tissues of the lungs more easily. He said: "They can get past the normal defence mechanisms in the lungs and penetrate deeply into the air exchange regions.

Prof Dockery said the best way to avoid was outdoor activity on hot, hazy days."If a person exercises outside, the increased respiratory activity also increases the dose of PM2.5," he said.


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