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Air pollution has received much attention in the past year. The Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that 3.2 million deaths a year are attributable to particulate matter in outdoor air, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified polluted outdoor air as carcinogenic, and we witnessed extreme episodes in Beijing and Shanghai. While effects on respiratory health have long been recognised, it is the impacts on cardiovascular disease that are responsible for most of the disease burden attributable to air pollution. Two linked papers provide new insight into the role of air pollution on cardiovascular disease and subsequent impacts on population health.
Brauer, M., & G. B. J. Mancini (2014) Where there’s smoke . . . Poor air quality is an important contributor to cardiovascular risk, BMJ 348:40.