Just as President Obama is making a public stand to combat global warming, scientists are proving that air pollution isn’t just an inconvenience. In fact, long-term exposure even to low levels of pollution – such as living in a big city all your life -increases your risk of lung cancer, according to a study published in The Lancet Oncology journal. The pollutants mentioned in this study included “nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (including traffic, industry, and domestic heating).”
What’s more, another study found a “strong and consistent” relationship between exposure to pollution and hospitalizations or death from congestive heart failure. The risks increased with “exposure to air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide [a big contributor to smog].” This study concluded its findings by saying, “air pollution is a pervasive public health issue with major cardiovascular and health economic consequences, and it should remain a key target for global health policy.”
I read a news item about these studies the other day when the early morning temp was 80 degrees and the humidity was 81%. I have never been inclined to go out walking in weather like that, but now there’s a stronger reason beyond simple discomfort to stay home. For a person living with heart failure, taking a walk in those conditions could be considered suicidal.