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Air Pollution Linked to Heart Attacks

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NEW YORK, Dec 16, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new study indicates people living in U.S. cities face an increased risk of dying from a heart attack as a result of air pollution

The study's lead author, George Thurston of the New York University School of Medicine said: "It is clear that long-term exposure to the levels of air pollution that Americans are routinely exposed to is a significant contributor to ischemic heart disease.

"We observed that the increased risk of dying from some forms of heart disease among non-smokers living in polluted cities is roughly comparable to the increased risk caused by being a former smoker."

The study, published in the journal Circulation, was based on data collected by the American Cancer Society on the cause of death of some 500,000 adults from 1982 to 1998 and on data on pollution levels in cities nationwide.

The researchers found long-term exposure to tiny particles of soot and dust was linked to a 31 percent increase in the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease -- heart failure resulting from decreased oxygen supply to the heart muscle. It's a risk comparable with being a former smoker -- 33 percent.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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