Heart disease and traffic
- This item from Rachel News may be of interest....
From: Scientific American, Jul. 16, 2007
*LIVING NEAR HIGH TRAFFIC RAISES HEART RISKS*
DALLAS (Reuters) -- Living near a busy highway may be bad for your
Long-term exposure to air pollution from a nearby freeway or busy road
can raise the risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to
heart disease and stroke, German researchers reported on Monday.
"The most important finding of our study <http://www.precaution.org/lib/traffic_and_atherosclerosis.070717.pdf> is that living close to
high traffic, a major source of urban air pollution, is associated
with atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries -- the blood vessels
that supply the heart," Dr. Barbara Hoffmann, who led the study, said
in a statement.
"This is the first study to actually show a relationship between long-
term traffic exposure and coronary atherosclerosis," said Hoffmann, of
the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.
The study is published in this week's issue of Circulation, an
American Heart Association journal.
Previous studies have linked elevated levels of air pollution to an
increased risk of heart problems, but this is the first to demonstrate
that living near high traffic is associated with coronary
The study looked at 4,494 adults, aged 45 to 74, in three large cities
in the industrialized Ruhr area of Germany.
Doctors examined the participants, looking especially for coronary
artery calcification, which occurs when fatty plaques forming in the
artery walls become calcified, or hardened.
Researchers found that compared with people who lived more than 200
meters (yards) from major traffic, the chance of high coronary artery
calcification was 63 percent greater for those living within 50 meters
For people within 51 meters to 100 meters (164 feet to 328 feet) the
chance was 34 percent higher. It was 8 percent higher for those within
100 meters to 200 meters (328 feet to 642 feet) of heavy traffic.
These percentages take into account age, gender, smoking and high
A five-year follow up study is set to be completed next year.
"Politicians, regulators and physicians need to be aware that living
close to heavy traffic may pose an increased risk of harm to the
heart. Potential harm due to proximity to heavy traffic should be
considered when planning new buildings and roads," Hoffmann said.
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