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Even Low Levels of Air Pollution Harms Heart, Lungs

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021

Breathing in air that has even low levels of pollution poses a threat to older adults’ heart and lungs, a new study warns.

Researchers analyzed medical records of more than 63 million Medicare patients from 2000 to 2016. They found that long-term exposure to low levels of air pollution could increase the risk of pneumonia, heart attack, stroke and the irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation (a-fib).

The threat to the seniors’ heart and lungs was seen even at levels of air pollution below national standards, according to findings published Feb. 22 in the journal Circulation.

Researchers assessed three components of air pollution — fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. Each unit of increase in levels of those pollutants was associated with thousands of hospital admissions a year, the study found.

The findings show that air pollution should be considered a risk factor

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