Crimes of the Heart
American Heart Association Deems Air Pollution Bad for Heart
It’s official: Air pollution is not only bad for your kids, your lungs, and your view — it’s bad for your heart as well. So says the American Heart Association, the authority on all matters cardiovascular. The AHA had long remained skeptical about the connection between air pollution and heart problems, but a growing body of research convinced the group to issue its first formal warning on the matter today. It cautioned that folks with preexisting heart conditions should check the U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index before exercising outside. While the risk posed by air pollution is small relative to the big heart killers — smoking, inactivity, diabetes — it is equivalent to, say, second-hand smoke, so reducing exposure is advised. “When the risk is applied to tens of millions of people who are exposed involuntarily throughout a lifetime, it becomes a serious problem,” said lead author Robert Brook.