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Your Environment. Your Health.

Cardiovascular Effects of Beijing Olympics Air Pollution Reduction

Junfeng Zhang, Ph.D., Howard M. Kipen, M.D., Pamela Ohman-Strickland, Ph.D., Shou-En Lu, Ph.D., Duncan Thomas, Ph.D.
University of Southern California, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
NIEHS Grants R01ES015864, P30ES005022, P30ES007048


The Chinese government shut down factories and limited automobile traffic during the Beijing Olympics, to lessen air pollution. These temporary changes in air pollution levels were associated with acute changes in cardiovascular biomarkers in healthy young people, according to a new study from NIEHS grantees. The research adds evidence that higher levels of air pollution are linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.


The researchers recruited 125 male and female resident doctors, who worked at a central Beijing hospital, to participate in the study. Participants had never smoked, were free of disease, and had an average age of 24. They visited the clinic before the air pollution controls were in place, while the pollution controls were used, and after the games had ended.


During the Olympics, the study participants showed significant reductions in von Willebrand factor and soluble CD62P levels, which are both associated with blood coagulation. Soluble CD62P and systolic blood pressure levels increased significantly once the pollution controls were lifted after the Olympics


Citation: Rich DQ, Kipen HM, Huang W, Wang G, Wang Y, Zhu P, Ohman-Strickland P, Hu M, Philipp C, Diehl SR, Lu SE, Tong J, Gong J, Thomas D, Zhu T, Zhang JJ. 2012. Association between changes in air pollution levels during the Beijing Olympics and biomarkers of inflammation and thrombosis in healthy young adults. JAMA 307(19):2068-78.

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