Dirty air sends us to a hospital

Researchers from Dundee University published results in the ERJ, with which they show a clear link between air pollution and hospitalisations, as well as emergency visits to GPs.

Professor Chalmers claimed that the data showed that the impact of air pollution was worst in the summer months, where hotter and less windy days raised the levels of air pollution.

It is also when people are outside more and are being exposed to pollution, the researchers suggested, and a time when doctor visits were more frequent.

Professor Chalmers added: “Our datasuggests that a failure to tackle air pollution is having a major impact on the health of people with lung conditions and potentially the wider Tayside population. The patients we looked at, who all suffer from lung conditions, are to my mind the canary in the coalmine on this issue – they are the first and most seriously affected by air pollution but it can affect us all.”

Ian Jarrold, Head of Research at the British Lung Foundation, said that the research showed that the additional costs faced by the NHS due to exposure to air pollution ‘can no longer be ignored’.

Happy 4-th of July?

There will be more than 16,000 fireworks in the United States during the fourth of July celebration – enough to register a dramatic (albeit temporary) effect on air quality.

In its publication, the citylab website explains how all these rockets and explosions emit considerable amounts of “fine particulate matter”, microscopic particles capable of penetrating deep into the lungs and blood.

Another publication reveals how some states will fight the problem. By contrast, pollution levels in the US are generally half of the average in Bulgaria, but even for one-time rises – at the time of their national holiday, they are looking for cleaner alternatives.

Air pollution associated with acute respiratory distress

ARDS is a rapidly progressive disease that occurs in critically ill patients. The disease’s most serious complication is that fluid leaks into the lungs making breathing difficult or impossible. ARDS develops in patients with predisposing conditions such as sepsis, pneumonia, traumatic injury, and aspiration. The elderly population is at particularly high risk of developing ARDS and the ARDS mortality rate for elderly patients has been reported to be around 69 percent to 80 percent.

Тhe study’s senior author, stated that: “Our findings are unique in showing that the adverse health effects of air pollution on our senior citizens now include acute respiratory failure and that an increase in hospitalization for ARDS in seniors occurs at the current U.S. air pollution standards. These results add to the growing body of literature on various adverse health effects at current standards that demonstrate a need to lower our exposure limits.”

Second-hand diesels – a predictable ecocalamity

The air pollution crisis caused by the manipulation of car manufacturers’ emission rules has left cities no choice but to start bans on diesel cars: Paris, Madrid, Oslo, Amsterdam, Athens and Rome are among those who plan
similar prohibitions. This leads to a tendency to get rid of diesel cars in these countries.

Only last year Bulgaria imported more than 100,000 second-hand cars from the EU-28 countries, over one third of which have highly polluting diesel engines (table above)

The flow of inexpensive, unmodified, used diesel engines will simply displace the air pollution problem to the east, and the failure to resolve it, deepens the air quality problem in Eastern Europe.

There is an obvious need for joint European measures to avoid dumping of polluting diesel cars in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. This is contrary to the principle of the single market and the spirit of its product rules – all EU citizens have the same right to clean air. The flow of old polluting diesel engines must be limited in a way that protects the environment and public health and complies with the rules of the single market.

Polluted air may increase need for vitamin D

An interesting publication where the vitamin D status is compared in 34 children aged 9-24 months living in a region of Delhi known for high levels of air pollution (Mori Gate), with a comparable age range of less pollinated children (Gurgaon) from the city.

The mean value of 25 (OH) D in the Mori gate area was 12.4 (7) ng / ml, compared with 27.1 (7) ng / ml in children living in Gurgaon District (p <0.001 ).

The authors recommend that children living in areas with high atmospheric pollution should be offered vitamin D supplements because they are at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency rickets.

Air pollution impacts even IVF…

In a recent  scientific publication,  the authors pose and answer and important question linked to a hitherto unknown influence of air-pollution.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY

Exposure to high ambient air pollution was suggested to be associated with low fertility and high early pregnancy loss in women.
STUDY QUESTION

Are the concentrations of five criteria air pollutants associated with probabilities of biochemical pregnancy loss and intrauterine pregnancy in women?

SUMMARY ANSWER

Increased concentrations of ambient particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) during controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) and after embryo transfer were associated with a decreased probability of intrauterine pregnancy.

 

Does smoking reduction help reduce harm?

The authors of an interesting new study have asked and scientifically answered an important practical question:

Does reduction of the number of cigarettes smoked per day, reduce the risks of morbidity and mortality linked to the common smoking related diseases?

The unequivocal quote of the conclusions of this study is: “Smoking cessation is the only effective strategy to reduce the harm caused by tobacco smoking. This finding should lead clinicians to offer support to smokers in order to assist them to completely quit smoking.

Polluted air harms unborns

Exposure to ambient air pollution has been associated with greater risk of elevated blood pressure (BP) in adults and children. Recent evidence suggests that air pollution exposure in pregnancy may also portend increased risk for the next generation; however, few studies have examined this relationship. We conducted a prospective study of 1293 mothers in the Boston Birth Cohort (enrolled 1998–2012) and their children who had follow-up visits between 3 and 9 years of age and complete exposure and outcome data. Our primary exposure, ambient particulate matter ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) concentration during pregnancy, was estimated by matching mother’s residential address to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality monitors. We defined our primary outcome child systolic BP (SBP) percentile according to US reference (Fourth Report) and classified elevated BP as SBP ≥90th percentile. Our multivariable-adjusted cubic spline showed a sharp increase in offspring SBP percentile and risk for elevated BP when third-trimester PM2.5 concentration was ≥13 μg/m3. The highest versus lowest tertile of third-trimester PM2.5 exposure was associated with a 4.85 (95% confidence interval: 1.38–8.37) percentile increase in child SBP or a 1.61 (95% confidence interval: 1.13–2.30) times higher risk of child elevated BP. A 5-μg/m3 increment in PM2.5 during the third trimester was associated with a 3.49 (95% confidence interval: 0.71–6.26) percentile increase in child SBP or a 1.47 (95% confidence interval: 1.17–1.85) times higher risk of elevated BP. Our findings suggest that exposure to ambient PM2.5 during the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with elevated BP in children, ages 3 to 9 years.

Against pollution so that we do not forget…

А new study new adds to growing evidence that early exposure to pollution can increase both suicide risks in younger people and Alzheimer’s disease as people age.

Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks start in childhood in polluted environments, and we must implement effective preventative measures early. It is useless to take reactive actions decades later.

 

For those a little ahead of us in Europe…

The Dayton Accords reached 22 years ago heralded an era of peace for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Yet the country is now estimated to be the second deadliest in the world for another killer, responsible for more lives lost worldwide than any war – air pollution.

Electricity produced from coal can appear cheap in the short-term. It has been seen by many to be a development opportunity. The electricity is even exported to neighbouring countries.

Yet what price does cheap and dirty energy place on people’s health, the environment and development?

Have a look at the article published by WHO and remember, that B&H is the only country in Europe, ahead of Bulgaria with regards to air-pollution related deaths.