Short-Term Air Pollution Linked to Stroke Mortality

Researchers find that transient increases in particulate matter more than double risk of death

FRIDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A transient rise in particulate air pollution more than doubles the risk of death from intracerebral hemorrhage, according to a study published online Sept. 21 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Shin Yamazaki, M.D., of Kyoto University in Japan, and colleagues assessed stroke deaths in people aged 65 years and older in 13 major urban areas in Japan to see if there was a connection with levels of air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and photochemical oxidants.

The researchers found that high hourly rates of particulate matter (in excess of 200 μg/m3) about two hours before death were associated with an increased risk of death due to intracerebral hemorrhage during the warmer months of April to September (odds ratio, 2.4).

"The increase in risk was independent of the 24-hour mean concentration of [particulate matter]," the authors conclude. "To help prevent stroke-related death due to air pollution, air quality standards for particulate matter should be based not only on 24-hour mean concentrations, but also on hourly data."

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