ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
CANCER
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
EYE CARE, VISION
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
The Unmedicated Mind
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Add your Article

Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Thousands of Americans are dying each year from lung disease caused by atmospheric ozone, a new study finds.

The greatest risk may for those living be in hot, dry cities such as Los Angeles, which has one of the highest concentrations of ozone. Residents of Los Angeles may face a 25 percent to 30 percent higher annual risk of dying from a respiratory ailment versus people in low-ozone areas such as the Great Plains, the researchers said.

The report, published in the March 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, also found that that tiny components of smog called "fine particulate matter" had a clear link to cardiovascular deaths.

"This is one of the first studies where we've been able to report separate independent effect from both particulate matter and ozone," said lead researcher Michael Jerrett, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. "With particulate matter, we see effects very strongly for cardiovascular mortality such as heart attack and stroke and, for ozone, we see them in respiratory deaths."

"That suggests that we can't just regulate particulate matter or ozone," Jerrett continued. "We have to look at dealing with both pollutants because they're both exerting major impacts, but on different mortality outcomes."

An estimated 240,000 people in the United States and 7.7 million people worldwide die of respiratory disease each year, according to data from the World Health Organization.

Efforts to reduce ground-level ozone have stalled in recent years, Jarrett said, and now one in three Americans lives in an area that exceeds the national standard for ozone levels.

A year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did issue stricter air quality standards for ground-level ozone, but many scientists advocate still lower levels.

When hovering seven miles above the earth, ozone is actually beneficial because it blocks ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, closer to the ground it infiltrates the lungs and may cause damage. A number of studies have tried to link ozone exposure with mortality but they have been inconclusive, the researchers noted.

In their study, Jerrett and his colleagues cross-referenced American Cancer Society data with pollution data from 96 metropolitan areas in the United States. In all, the study included information on almost 449,000 people and included 118,777 deaths occurring over nearly two decades of follow-up.

The results: each additional 10 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone concentration was linked to a 4 percent increase risk of dying from respiratory causes, most notably pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The findings carry the knowledge of air pollution and its effect on health a notch deeper, one expert said.

"This is something we've seen before with high levels of pollution, though we had not identified ozone as something causing respiratory diseases," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "We know it's air pollution, but what in air pollution?

Ozone is also a powerful greenhouse gas, Jerrett said, so measures to improve health might have the added benefit of slowing climate change.

"Everybody knows we need to go greener. It's just a question of how we do that," Horovitz stated.

More information

Find out the ozone concentrations in your county at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency .



SOURCES: Michael Jerrett, Ph.D., associate professor, environmental health sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley; Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; March 12, 2009, New England Journal of Medicine

Last Updated: March 11, 2009

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