The study results show that small increases in fine particle air pollution resulted in increased hospital admissions for heart and vascular disease, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and respiratory infection. "The data show that study participants over 75 years of age experienced even greater increases in admissions for heart problems and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than those between 65 and 74 years of age," said National Institutes of Health Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided funding to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for the study. The study results are published in the March 8, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
According to the study, these findings document an ongoing threat from airborne particles to the health of the elderly, and provide a strong rationale for setting a national air quality standard that is as protective of their health as possible.
"These findings provide compelling evidence that fine particle concentrations well below the national standard are harmful to the cardiovascular and respiratory health of our elderly citizens," said NIEHS Director David A. Schwartz, M.D. "Now that the link between inhaled particles and adverse health effects has been
Contact: John Peterson
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences