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Your Environment. Your Health.

Air Pollution and Your Heart

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

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Air Pollution and Your Heart

September 30, 2015

Expert: Joel Kaufman, M.D.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.1 Many factors are known to raise the risk of heart disease, including diet, smoking, inactivity, and genetic factors. According to a growing body of research, air pollution also plays an important role in the development of heart disease and in triggering cardiac events. In this podcast, we’ll hear about the latest research and offer tips to reduce your risk.


Joel Kaufman

Joel Kaufman, M.D., is a professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, a professor of Epidemiology, and a professor of General Internal Medicine at the University of Washington (UW). He also directs the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program in both the UW School of Public Health and the UW School of Medicine. His research focuses on environmental factors in cardiovascular and respiratory disease. He is the principal investigator of a major epidemiological prospective cohort study of air pollution and cardiovascular disease (The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution, or “MESA Air”). He is also principal investigator of an NIH-funded University of Washington center on Cardiovascular Disease and Traffic-Related Air Pollution. He directs the UW Northlake Controlled Exposure Facility, which is customized for experimental inhalation toxicology studies on the health effects of combustion products, including diesel exhaust. Kaufman’s research integrates the disciplines of epidemiology, exposure sciences, toxicology, and clinical medicine.

For More Information

AirNow Local Air Pollution Information
Check this website for today’s Air Quality Index forecast where you live. If you have a cardiac condition, your doctor may advise you to avoid heavy exertion outdoors on days with poor air quality.

Protect Your Heart
Learn key steps you can take to reduce your exposure to harmful air pollution and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke at this webpage of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

AHA Statement on Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease
Read a scientific statement from the American Heart Association representing the consensus view among experts on the growing body of evidence on heart disease and particulate matter air pollution. Or, get a quick overview in the AHA Air Pollution and Heart Disease Webpage

Video: Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease
Watch podcast interviewee Joel Kaufman, M.D., discuss his research on heart disease and air pollution in this 7-minute video produced by the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Heart Disease
Find out what NIEHS is doing to advance research on the role of the environment in the #1 cause of death in the United States: heart disease.

NIEHS Air Pollution Webpage
Read about the different types of air pollution and learn what NIEHS researchers and grantees are doing to understand and reduce its health impacts.

EPA: Cardiovascular Disease and Air Pollution Research
Find heart disease facts and information about air pollution research at this webpage of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


1CDC/National Center for Health Statistics. Leading Causes of Death

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