Study Links Air Pollution to Emphysema

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Study Links Air Pollution to Emphysema (August 13, 2019) – A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has linked ambient air pollution with emphysema, a disease that had previously been mostly associated with smoking. The study, led by the University of Washington, Columbia University, and the University at Buffalo, examined air pollution and over 15,000 records of health outcomes from more than 7,000 people between 2000 and 2018 in six metropolitan regions across the U.S.: Chicago IL, Winston-Salem NC, Baltimore MD, Los Angeles CA, St. Paul MN, and New York NY. It concluded that long-term exposure to ambient air pollutants was significantly associated with increasing emphysema assessed quantitatively using computed tomographic (CT) imaging and lung function.

“We were surprised to see how strong air pollution's impact was on the progression of emphysema on lung scans, in the same league as the effects of cigarette smoking, which is by far the best-known cause of emphysema," said Dr. Joel Kaufman from the University of Washington, the study’s senior co-author. The study found that the combined health effect of multiple air pollutants – ozone, PM2.5, nitrogen oxides, and black carbon – was greater than the individual effects of each pollutant. For further information: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2747669 and https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190813180833.htm