According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. The effects of ozone pollution on cardiovascular disorders are the subject of a recent Chinese study. The study published in the European Heart Journal on March 10 demonstrates the significance of air quality to human health and ties ozone pollution to an increase in hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease.
High levels of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere shield humans from dangerous solar radiation. Ozone gas, which is produced when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds react with sunshine and high temperatures, can be harmful to humans and plants when it is near the ground. Automobiles, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and biomass and fossil fuel burning facilities release nitrogen oxides that form ozone gas.
The Chinese study examined 70 cities chosen from a list of 161 between 2015 and the end of 2017. Researchers gathered information from people with cardiovascular disease. The available patient data comprised gender, age, admission date, and hospital stay duration. The study includes coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, angina pectoris, acute myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke as forms of cardiovascular disease.
The two databases utilized for the research contain information on an average of 258 million people in 70 cities. Overall, the sample covers more than 18% of mainland China’s total population. Researchers acquired data from the China National Urban Air Quality Real-time Publishing Platform regarding daily eight-hour maximum average concentrations of ozone, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), inhalable particles (PM10), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide.
The average daily eight-hour maximum ozone exposure was 79.2 g/m3 in the 70 cities with 6,444,441 cardiovascular disease hospitalizations. Except for hemorrhagic stroke, exposure to ambient ozone increased the likelihood of hospital admissions for cardiovascular events. Currently, the WHO standards for ozone prescribe daily maximum concentrations of 100 g/m3 for eight hours.
A 10g/m3 rise in daily eight-hour maximum ozone concentration was associated with a 0.40% increase in hospitalizations for stroke and 0.75% increase for acute myocardial infarction, according to Chinese researchers. Shaowei Wu, author of the study and professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, asserts that increments are crucial.
“Although these increases appear modest, it should be noted that ozone levels can rise above 200 g/m3 in the summer, and these increases in hospitalizations would be amplified by more than 20 times to over 8% for stroke and 15% for acute myocardial infarction,” adds Wu.
Wu notes Ozone concentrations below 70 g/m3 do not pose a threat to human activity. However, concentrations of 100 g/m3 or above contributed to hospitalization increases of 3.38 percent for stroke and 6.58 percent for acute myocardial infarction. Compared to ozone concentrations below 70 g/m3, those between 70 and 99 g/m3 increased hospital admissions for heat failure by 2.26 percent and for coronary heart disease by 3.21 percent.
During the three-year study period, 109,400 of 3,194,577 coronary heart hospitalizations were attributed to ozone, according to the report. Wu asserts that the hospitalizations may have been prevented if ozone levels were 0 g/m3. Although Wu acknowledges that this is impractical, he feels that admissions may have been prevented if ozone levels were consistently below 100 g/m3.
Three out of eight Americans, according to the American Lung Association, reside in counties with a “F” grade for ozone smog. Pregnant women, children, persons over the age of 65, those with preexisting conditions, and outdoor dwellers are at a greater risk from ozone pollution.
Individuals can take measures to protect themselves against ozone pollution. The American Lung Association suggests checking airnow.gov for air pollution forecasts and lung.org/wildfire for wildfire smoke. Switching to eco-friendly options for daily activities, such as driving an electric vehicle, are excellent strategies to combat air pollution on a personal level.