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UW-led study pinpoints how air pollution harms your heart

Published on May 26, 2016

Air Pollution in Los Angeles (one of the MESA Air study locaitons) and Dr. Joel Kaufman.
Image Credit: Dirka Dl & Wikimedia Commons and The University of Washington

Dr. Joel Kaufman of the University of Washington led a 10-year study of 6,000 people in six cities that found air pollution accelerates deposits of calcium in heart arteries, a known cause of heart attack and stroke.

Scientists have known for years that long-term exposure to air pollution raises the risk of heart disease, but a highly anticipated study led by a University of Washington environmental health expert finally explains why.

In a decadelong analysis involving more than 6,000 people in six states, Dr. Joel Kaufman found that people living in areas with more outdoor pollution built up calcium in the arteries of their hearts faster than those who lived elsewhere — increasing a known risk for heart attack and stroke.

“On average we found a 20 percent acceleration in the rate of the calcium deposits,” said Kaufman, 54, director of the UW’s occupational and environmental medicine program. “I would say the results are a little more clear-cut and dramatic than I expected when I started this.”

Continue reading at The Seattle Times.

(Originally published by The Seattle Times and JoNel Aleccia)

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