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Exposure to air pollution increases death risk by 20%: Study

New York, June 25, 2022- Exposure to above-average levels of outdoor air pollution increased the risk of death by 20 per cent, and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent, according to researchers, including one of Indian origin.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that using wood- or kerosene-burning stoves, not properly ventilated through a chimney, to cook food or heat the home also increased the overall risk of death (by 23 per cent and 9 per cent) and cardiovascular death risk (by 36 per cent and 19 per cent).

“Our study highlights the role that key environmental factors of indoor/outdoor air pollution, access to modern health services, and proximity to noisy, polluted roadways play in all causes of death and deaths from cardiovascular disease in particular,” said researcher Rajesh Vedanthan from NYU Langone Health.

“Our findings help broaden the disease-risk profile beyond age and traditional personal risk factors,” he added.

For the study, the team collected health data from 50,045 mostly poor, rural villagers living in the northeast Golestan region of Iran.

All study participants were over age 40 and agreed to have their health monitored during annual visits with researchers dating as far back as 2004.

Researchers said their latest investigation not only identifies environmental factors that pose the greatest risk to heart and overall health, but also adds much-needed scientific evidence from people in low- and middle-income countries.

The researchers noted that traditional research on environmental risk factors has favoured urban populations in high-income countries with much greater access to modern health care services.  (Agency)

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