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Air pollution responsible for 4,800 early deaths

20th February 2013

Researchers in London have said being exposed to man-made airborne pollutants such as car fumes can cause a higher number of deaths in patients who have left hospital.

heart surgery

A team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine were responsible for monitoring over 154,000 heart attack and angina patients after they had left hospital.

The research was carried out for an average of 3.7 years and involved people living in England and Wales.

The team looked at particular minute particles known as PM2.5s which are only 2.5 micrometers wide.

They said patients who had survived acute coronary syndrome and were exposed to these man-made pollutants showed an increased death rate of 12%.

The team said there was a 20% rise in death rates which tallied with every 10 microgram increase in PM2.5. 

The study's author Dr Cathryn Tonne said: "This raises the possibility that exposure to air pollution may explain, in part, the differences in prognosis among heart attack patients from different backgrounds." 

People in London were found to be exposed to the highest levels of the pollutants, while people in the North East had the lowest exposure. 


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