High levels of pollution lead to increased heart disease in women, study finds

News flash: pollution is bad. And women living in highly polluted areas are 76 percent more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke, according to a rigorous study published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday. “The magnitude of the findings are substantially higher than what’s been seen in prior research on long-term effects of air pollution,” says report director Joel Kaufman. Researchers monitored the health of 65,893 post-menopausal women for up to nine years, as well as the soot levels near their homes in 36 cities. (Be aware, ladies in L.A., Atlanta, and NYC; stay where you are, honeys in Honolulu and Tucson.) “[A]ir pollution isn’t just an environmentalist’s issue, or a matter of decreased visibility,” says Kaufman. “It’s impacting our health right now.” Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The study was financed in part by the U.S. EPA, which sets the (currently rather lenient) standard for allowable particulate pollution. Hint, hint.