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Particle Radioactivity in Air Pollution Tied to CVD Mortality

Higher levels of particle radioactivity in fine particulate matter linked to increased cardiovascular disease mortality

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Particle radioactivity, measured as gross β activity from highly resolved spatiotemporal predictions, is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Shuxin Dong, from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the association between particle radioactivity and mortality for CVD, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and all-cause nonaccidental mortality in Massachusetts for 2001 to 2015. Single-exposure and two-exposure models were fit within both difference-in-differences model and generalized linear mixed model frameworks, adjusting for fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

The researchers identified significant associations for gross β activity and PM2.5 with each mortality cause. The highest associations were seen with MI and stroke (rate ratios, 1.16 and 1.11, respectively) for an interquartile range increase in gross β activity using difference-in-differences and adjusting for PM2.5. A significant positive interaction was identified between PM2.5 and gross β activity; at a higher level of gross β activity, higher associations were seen between PM2.5 and mortality. The associations varied across age groups.

“We used fine spatiotemporal predictions of gross β activity and applied a causal inference method to demonstrate that gross β activity contributed significantly to CVD mortality, especially MI and stroke,” the authors write. “More importantly, we found that gross β activity enhances PM2.5 mortality.”

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