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Air Pollution, Road Traffic Noise Exposure May Be Linked to Heart Failure

Female nurses exposed to high levels of PM2.5, NO2, and road traffic noise had enhanced risk for heart failure; risks greater in those with hypertension or former smoking history

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Long-term exposure to air pollution and road traffic noise may be associated with an increased risk for heart failure, according to a study published online Oct. 6 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Youn-Hee Lim, Ph.D., from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues examined the associations between three-year mean exposures to air pollution and road traffic noise and incident heart failure using data for female nurses from the Danish Nurse Cohort (aged older than 44 years). At participants’ residences, the annual mean levels of particulate matter with a diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5) since 1990 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and road traffic noise since 1970 were estimated.

The researchers found that 484 of the 22,189 nurses developed heart failure. There were associations observed with all three pollutants, with hazard ratios of 1.17 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.36) per increase of 5.1 µg/m3 in PM2.5, 1.10 (95 percent CI, 0.99 to 1.22) per increase of 8.6 µg/m3 in NO2, and 1.12 (95 percent CI, 0.99 to 1.26) per increase of 9.3 dB in road traffic noise. Those exposed to high levels of the three pollutants had an enhanced risk for heart failure incidence; the effect modification of coexposure was not statistically significant. The strongest associations with PM2.5 were seen for former smokers and nurses with hypertension.

“To minimize the impact of these exposures, broad public tactics such as emissions control measures should be implemented,” Lim said in a statement.

The study was partially funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme.

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