Researchers from McGill University and Health Canada have found that air pollution from wood burning is linked to increased risk of heart attacks in seniors.
The risk of acute myocardial infarction for the elderly living in and around small cities is increased by air pollution caused by biomass burning from woodstoves. It is well documented that air pollution in big cities causes heart and lung problems. But what are its consequences on people in smaller urban centres? By comparing pollution data from three cities in BC (Prince George, Kamloops, and Courtenay/Comox) with hospital admissions, researchers found that rising concentrations of fine particulate air pollution caused by wood burning were associated with increased hospitalization for myocardial infarction. During the cold season, when pollution from woodstoves is at its highest, the risk of heart attacks among subjects of 65 years and older increased by 19%.
The study, “Biomass burning as a source of ambient fine particulate air pollution and acute myocardial infarction,” is published in Epidemiology.
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
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