Outdoor air pollution is a major health threat worldwide. New research by George Mason University found that exposure to certain air pollutants is linked to increased emergency department (ED) visits for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Mason Assistant Professor of Global and Community Health Dr. Jenna Krall led the research with colleagues from Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Pittsburgh. They found that exposure to pollutants such as ground-level ozone and nitrogen oxides, which are created from burning fossil fuels, led to increased ED visits. The study was published online in August and will appear in the November issue of Environment International.
“We found that primary pollutants — those that are emitted directly from a source, such as car exhaust — were associated with ED visits for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” explains Krall. “Additionally, secondary pollutants — those that are formed through chemical reactions in the air — were linked to ED visits for respiratory diseases.”