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Study Finds Ozone Tied to Heart Disease Deaths

Update Date: Sep 07, 2013 10:45 AM EDT

Due to several research studies, people know that exposure to pollution can lead to many health complications. Pollution, which is created from industrial plants, car exhaust and other man-made items, can lead to respiratory diseases, cancers and heart disease, which is why governments throughout the world have worked hard to lower pollution. In a new study, researchers presented another reason why limiting gases is so important. The analysis, which was funded by the California Air Resources Board, found that people who were exposed to ground level ozone, which is a powerful greenhouse gas, were more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular diseases.

In this study, the researchers from the University of California Berkeley focused on over 73,000 residents of California. The researchers set out to estimate the level of air pollution exposure for each resident using their home addresses. The team used data from government air monitors and statistical models that helped them estimate the monthly average values of exposure to ozone, nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter. The data encompassed the time span of 1982 to 2000.

The researchers discovered that chronic ozone exposure increased one's risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. The researchers also found that chronic exposure from nitrogen oxide, which is usually due to traffic pollution lead to an increased risk of dying from lung cancer.

"Ozone has already been linked to respiratory problems, but this is the first study to show that it also increases the risk of death from ischemic heart disease, which accounts for more than 7 million deaths worldwide each year," said study lead author Michael Jerrett, professor and chair of environmental health sciences at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. "Our findings will likely up the total deaths due to air pollution by hundreds of thousands per year in the next World Health Organization assessment."

The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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