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Your Environment. Your Health.

Heart Disease

Program Description

Heart, or cardiovascular, disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major burden on our health care system. Coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and congestive heart failure all fall under the umbrella of cardiovascular disease.

Although there are many risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes, exposure to toxicants and other chemicals may also play a role. For example, NIEHS-funded studies have demonstrated a strong relationship between the risk of early death from heart disease and levels of airborne particles, sulfur dioxide, and other fossil fuel emissions.

What NIEHS is Doing

Environmental health scientists are working to identify who is most likely to experience cardiovascular problems because of exposure to air pollution and other contaminants such as pesticides, lead, dioxins, and arsenic. Researchers also want to understand how a person’s genetics might affect susceptibility to pollutants and the mechanisms leading to cardiovascular effects.

NIEHS grantees are investigating whether air pollution can trigger stroke and are examining the vascular and inflammatory mechanisms for air pollution’s cardiovascular effects. They are also studying the potential influence that extreme weather events, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and lack of green space might have on cardiovascular disease. The interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the progression of cardiovascular disease is another important area of investigation.

For additional information on what NIEHS grantees are doing, visit our Who We Fund tool.

Program Leads

Bonnie R. Joubert, Ph.D.
Bonnie R. Joubert, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator, Epidemiology
Tel 984-287-3276
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-12
Durham, N.C. 27709
Kimberly A. McAllister, Ph.D.
Kimberly McAllister, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel 984-287-3287
Fax 919-316-4606
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-12
Durham, N.C. 27709
Thaddeus Schug, Ph.D.
Thaddeus T. Schug, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel 984-287-3319
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-15
Durham, N.C. 27709
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