Air pollution linked to heart risk

22 January 2014        

Air pollution on motorway

Long term exposure to air pollution is strongly linked to heart attacks and angina, researchers have claimed.

The study involved over 100,000 people with no history of heart disease, who were followed for an average of eleven and a half years. After taking account of several other risk factors, researchers found that an increase in air pollution exposure was associated with a 13 per cent increased risk of coronary events.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, our Associate Medical Director, said: “Although it is not widely appreciated, the greatest health consequence of air pollution is now recognised as cardiovascular disease.

"Studies conducted by BHF Professor David Newby’s team in Edinburgh over the last 5 years have shown how particles in exhaust fumes effect heart and blood vessel function. And, in a large study last year he showed that air pollution not only leads to a higher incidence of heart attacks but also to worsening of heart failure.

“This current meta-analysis adds further valuable information, demonstrating how air pollution increases the risk of heart attack even within the currently accepted European pollution limits. This strongly supports the view that public health measures to reduce pollution even further will have significant health benefits.”

Find out more

Funded by us, research by Professor David Newby has been at the forefront of improving our understanding of how air pollution and heart disease. Find out more about his work.