Particles in air pollution cause a wide range of damaging effects to the cardiovascular system.
That’s according to a new report from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP), which found poor air quality can increase blood pressure, make the blood more likely to clot, cause fatty build-up inside the arteries and even alter the heart’s normal electrical rhythm.
The organisation calls for more research to be conducted around the world in order to get a more precise understanding of the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular health.
The report shows long-term exposure to air pollution, in particular fine particulate matter,contributes to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths across the country every year.
It suggests adopting stricter World Health Organization air quality guidelines into UK law is crucial to protecting the nation’s heart health – it argues securing these targets in law will help ensure action to reduce air pollution will be effective in reducing the risk to people currently living with cardiovascular disease.
British Heart Foundation CEO Simon Gillespie said: “While there are steps that people can take to reduce their exposure to air pollution we can’t expect people to move house to avoid air pollution – government and public bodies must be acting right now to make all areas safe and protect people from these harms.”