North Shore Logo Who is not aware about the detrimental effects of air pollution to the human body? Well this article just adds to the list. A latest research triggered by the Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research claims that tiny particles of pollution hanging in the air heighten chances for sudden cardiac arrest. Investigations have suggested that one out of three people live in areas where small particulate matter levels are considered unhealthy.

Data accumulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was assessed by the investigators. Information on average 24-hour values of small particulates and other gaseous pollutants around New York City during the summer when pollution is higher and winter months was included in the research. This information was then compared to data of 8,216 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that took place between 2002 and 2006. It was noted that not many people in the pain of a cardiac arrest were able to survive in time for emergency medical service teams to save them.

Dr. Robert A. Silverman, MD, enlightened, “Small particulate matter is dangerous to health. We need to figure out ways to combat air pollution and decrease the number of high-pollution days.” He added that pollution related cardiac arrests occurred during times when the levels were high but still below the current EPA safety threshold.

In the process of investigations it appeared that for a 10ug/m3 rise in small particle air pollution, there was a four to ten percent elevation in the number of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. At present EPA standard seems to be 35ug/m3. Scientists claim that effects of air pollution were significantly greater in the summer months. Levels of ozone, nitric oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide were also monitored which seemingly displayed a much weaker relationship. Investigators conducted an analysis of data from death records and the 33 EPA monitors. Currently the relationship between out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and traffic flow patterns is being inspected.

The research was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.