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Smoggy Air Could Worsen COVID, Even If You're Vaccinated

Exposure to air pollution can impede COVID-19 recovery, whether someone is vaccinated or not, according to new research.

"These findings are important because they show that, while COVID-19 vaccines are successful at reducing the risk of hospitalization, people who are vaccinated and exposed to polluted air are still at increased risk for worse outcomes than vaccinated people not exposed...

Smoggy Days Could Help Send Kids With Autism to the ER

Could air pollution land children with autism in the hospital?

A new study found that short-term exposure to air pollution is linked to a higher risk for hospitalization among kids with the developmental disorder.

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often admitted due to such ...

Breathing Dirty Air Can Cause Teens' Hearts to Skip a Beat

Air pollution may cause irregular heart rhythms in otherwise healthy teens within two hours of exposure, a new study shows.

Irregular heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, occur when the heart's electrical impulses don't work p...

Dirty Air Could Raise COVID Risks for Poor Pregnant Women

While exposure to smog is a known risk factor for preterm birth and low-birth weight, new research suggests it also may heighten risk of COVID-19 infection for pregnant low-income women.

Scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health analyzed the COVID test results for more than 3,300 pregnant women in New York and also assessed their long-term exposure to

  • By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • September 8, 2022
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  • Air Pollution May Alter a Baby's Gut Microbiome

    High levels of air pollution during the first six months of life could affect the colonies of bacteria in babies' guts, increasing their risk for allergies, obesity, diabetes and issues with brain development, according to new research.

    Researchers said their new study is the first to show a...

    Air Pollution May Do More Harm to Women Than Men

    Breathing in fumes from diesel exhaust may be more damaging to women than to men, a new, small Canadian study claims.

    “We already know that there are sex differences in lung diseases such as asthma and respiratory infections," said lead researcher Hemshekhar Mahadevappa, from the University of Man...

    High Heat, Heavy Smog a Deadly Combo: Study

    Heat coupled with smog can be a particularly lethal mix, especially for older adults, a new study finds.

    Unfortunately, both hot temperatures and air pollution are going to increase as the planet warms, and so will deaths, researchers report.

    "We are experiencing more and more frequent wildfires, which cause pollution, and

    Gas Used in Homes Has Links to Cancer; Leaks Often Undetected

    The natural gas being piped into your home contains a wide array of toxic chemicals, including nearly two dozen so harmful they're classified as hazardous air pollutants, a new study says.

    Natural gas samples taken from 69 Boston-area cooking stoves were found to contain at least 21 different hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and hexane, according ...

    Supreme Court Curbs EPA's Authority Over Power Plant Emissions

    In a ruling that will curb efforts to fight climate change, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.

    The 6-3 decision comes as scientists are warning about the growing threat posed by global warming.

    It could potentially extend to other actions taken by administrative agencies, the Ne...

    Inhaled Pollutants Go Directly From Lungs to Brain: Study

    Breathing in air pollution can lead to toxic particles entering the brain -- and not just through the nose. New research suggests they have a direct pathway through the bloodstream, potentially contributing to brain disorders and neurological damage.

    "There are gaps in our knowledge around the harmful...

    Pollution Killed 9 Million People Worldwide in 2019

    Pollution from varied sources caused 9 million deaths worldwide in 2019, accounting for 1 in 6 of all deaths, a new study says.

    Of those pollution-related deaths, three-quarters -- close to 7 million -- were caused by outdoor or indoor air pollution. Toxic chemical pollution (including lead) caused 1.8...

    Cutting Pollution From Power Plants, Transport Could Save 50,000 U.S. Lives Each Year

    More than 50,000 premature deaths would be prevented in the United States each year if fine particle air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels were eliminated, researchers say.

    Curbing this source of pollution would also save more than $600 billion a year in health care costs due to related illness and death, their

  • By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
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  • May 17, 2022
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  • Sharp Spike Seen in Air Pollution Levels in Recent Years

    After 23 years of decreases in overall air pollution levels, a new report shows that the United States recorded the highest ever number of "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" air quality days between 2018 and 2020.

    In its State of the Air 2022 report, the American Lung Association said more than 137 million Americans reside in counties with unhealthy air, and the number of people who faced i...

    Western Wildfires Fueling Air Pollution During Summer Months

    Larger and more intense wildfires in the U.S. Pacific Northwest are causing a spike in air pollution across North America that endangers millions of people, a new study warns.

    Wildfire smoke has been linked to significant

  • By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
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  • April 21, 2022
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  • 99% of Planet's Population Breathes Dirty Air: WHO

    Almost no one in the world is breathing good air, according to a new World Health Organization report, which issued a call for reducing the use of fossil fuels.

    Air quality is the worst in WHO's Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia regions, but 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds ai...

    Breathing Dirty Air Could Raise Your Odds for Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Long-term exposure to air pollution can wreak havoc on your lungs and heart, but new research suggests another vulnerability: It may increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

    For the study, the re...

    Could Air Pollution Help Trigger Depression in Teens?

    Even "safe" levels of ozone air pollution may increase adolescents' risk of depression, a new study shows.

    Researchers analyzed four years of mental health data from 213 adolescents, ages 9-13, in the San Francisco Ba...

    Biden Administration Says California Can Set Tough Auto Emission Standards Again

    California will once again be able to set its own car emission standards under a waiver approved Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    The move reverses a Trump administration decision to revoke the state's authority to determine its own limits on auto emissions.

    Under the EPA ...

    Your Houseplants May Help You Breathe Easier

    Want to breathe better air indoors? Go green.

    Houseplants can make your home or office air cleaner, according to British researchers.

    In lab tests, they found that three common houseplants -- peace lily ...

    EPA Proposes Tougher Emission Standards for Big Trucks

    Tighter restrictions on emissions from big trucks were proposed Monday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    "Seventy-two million people are estimated to live near truck freight routes in America, and they are more likely to be people of color and those with lower incomes. These overburdened communities are directly exposed to pollution that causes respiratory and cardiovascu...

    EPA to Restore Rule Limiting Mercury Pollution From Power Plants

    Enforcement of a rule limiting power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants will be resumed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.

    It's the latest move by the Biden administration to reinstate environmental protections lifted by the Trump administration.

    "The science is clear: we must limit mercury and toxic air pollution to protect our kids a...

    Your Gas Stove Might Make You (and the Planet) Sick

    That gas stove in your kitchen fires up quickly and cooks evenly. What's not to love?

    A lot, as it turns out.

    The emissions from gas stoves are considered major contributors to climate change and damaging to human health. Now, new research suggests they're troublesome even when they're turned off.

    The problem is sizable: Over 40 million U.S. households cook with gas, and gas ...

    Shorter Life Spans for Elderly Living Downwind of Fracking Sites: Study

    Older people who live near or downwind of fracking sites have an increased risk of premature death, likely due to airborne contaminants from the sites, according to a new study.

    "There is an urgent need to understand the causal link between living near or downwind of [unconventional oil and gas development] and advers...

    Polluted Air Keeps Butterflies, Bees From Pollinating: Study

    As air pollution worsens, fruits, flowers and the creatures that pollinate them could pay a price.

    That's the takeaway from British researchers who used special equipment to control levels of two common pollutants -- diesel exhaust and ozone -- in a field of black mustard plants, and then monitored pollinating insects over two summers.

    "We knew from our previous lab studies that di...

    You Don't Have to Be a Smoker to Get Lung Cancer

    Think you're safe from lung cancer because you've never smoked? Think again.

    While cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, it's possible to get the disease without ever lighting up.

    "Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer," said Dr. Missak Haigentz Jr., chief of Thoracic and Head and Neck Medical Oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick.

    ...

    Cleaner Air Could Mean Healthier Brains for Older Women

    Everyone knows cleaner air means healthier bodies, but new research suggests it might also help aging minds.

    "Our study is important because it is one of the first to show that reducing air pollution over time may benefit the brain health of older women by decreasing their likelihood of developing dementia," said...

    Wildfires Plus Heat Make Breathing Dangerous in America's West

    Wildfires and rising temperatures are exposing more and more Americans to an air pollution double-whammy of smoke and smog, a new study warns.

    Researchers found that over the past 20 years, a growing number of people in western states have been simultaneously exposed to high levels of two kinds of air pollution: Fine-particle pollution generated by

  • Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
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  • January 12, 2022
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  • Urban Air Pollution Drives Millions of Cases of Asthma in Kids

    Far fewer kids might develop asthma if there were less traffic pollution, suggests a new study that researched the issue worldwide.

    "Our study found that nitrogen dioxide puts children at risk of developing asthma and the problem is especially acute in urban areas," said study author Susan Anenberg, a professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University in Wa...

    Dirty City Air Killed More Than 1.8 Million People Globally in 2019

    Cities worldwide are shrouded with air pollution -- and it's killing people.

    A new modeling study found that 86% of people living in cities throughout the world -- a total of 2.5 billion people -- are exposed to fine particulate matter at levels that exceed the World Health Organization's 2005 guidelines.

    In 2019, this urban air pollution led to 1.8 million excess deaths, accordin...

    Most of Restaurant Menu Must Be Vegetarian Before Meat Eaters Make the Switch

    Meat eaters are far more apt to choose plant-based foods at restaurants if menus are at least 75% vegetarian, according to a new study.

    Along with the health benefits, British researchers said getting more people to eat plant-based foods could help fight climate change.

    "Th...

    Across the U.S., Black Americans Breathe in Dirtier Air

    Is air pollution a bigger health threat to minorities?

    Apparently so, claims a new U.S. study that finds while air pollution levels have fallen in recent decades, people of color still have more exposure to dirty air than white Americans do.

    Air pollution is linked to a range of heal...

    Toxins in Wildfire Smoke May Make Their Way Into Brain

    The smoke from wildfires is dangerous for your lungs, but tiny particles from the smoke can also enter your brain and cause lifelong neurological issues, a new animal study suggests.

    Once that happens, the particles may put people at risk for everything from premature aging and various forms of dementia to depression and even psychosis, researchers say.

    "These are fires that are com...

    Smog Could Reduce Exercise's Benefit to Your Brain

    Dirty air could cancel out some of the brain benefits of exercise, a new study suggests.

    "Physical activity is associated with improved markers of brain health in areas with lower air pollution," said study author Melissa Furlong. "However, some beneficial effects essentially disappeared for vigorous physical activity in areas with the highest levels of air pollution." Furlong is an envir...

    NYC's Ban on Heating Oil Helped Clean the Air

    New York City's ban on a certain type of heating oil led to significant reductions in air pollutants that pose a risk to health, new research shows.

    “It is very encouraging to see the overall success of the Clean Heat Program in reducing pollution levels in the city, and particularly exciting to find that the policy is effective in both low- and high-income neighborhoods,” lead author...

    Could Pollution Help Decide Your Baby's Sex?

    A boy or a girl? New research suggests that the air pregnant women breathe or the water they drink could play a role in their baby's sex.

    The finding stems from tracking hundreds of factors -- including pollution exposure -- surrounding the birth of more than 6 million Americans an...

    Pandemic Data Suggests Cars Spew More Ammonia Than Suspected

    COVID-19 lockdowns brought surprising news to scientists studying pollution: Cars spew much more ammonia into the air than previously thought.

    Ammonia is a common air pollutant that's a major cause of lung and heart disease, especially in cities.

    “The tricky question has always been: How do we separate out ammonia concentrations owing to traffic from the ammonia emitted from sourc...

    Your Plant-Based Diet Could Really Help the Planet

    Worried about climate change? You can do something about it every time you lift your fork, a new study suggests.

    Folks can reduce their personal carbon footprint by eating less red meat, nibbling fewer sweets and cutting back on tea, coffee and booze, according to the findings.

    "We all want to do our bit to help save the planet," said senior researcher Darren Greenwood, a senior lec...

    Biden Announces New Lung Health Program for U.S. Veterans

    A new program to help U.S. veterans with lung problems caused by inhaling toxins while deployed was announced on Veterans Day by President Joe Biden.

    It will also assess the potential connection between cancers and time spent overseas breathing poor air, according to the White House.

    "We're discovering there is a whole host of lung conditions related to deployment," Dr. Richard Meeh...

    As Pandemic Cut Air Pollution, Heart Attacks Declined

    Urban air cleared during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns as fewer commuters hit the road daily, and that might have resulted in one unexpected heart health benefit for Americans, a new study suggests.

    Those reductions in air pollution appear to be linked to a decrease in heart attacks during the shutdowns, according to research slated for presentation Saturday at the American Heart Associ...

    Biden Administration Moves to Cut Methane Emissions That Threaten Climate, Health

    A new rule to sharply cut methane emissions and other oil and gas industry air pollutants that harm health and contribute to climate change is in the works.

    The new Clean Air Act rule proposed Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would cut 41 million tons of methane emissions between 2023 and 2035.

    That's the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxi...

    Brazil Study Shows Climate Change's Deadly Impact on Kidneys

    Global warming may pose a threat to your kidneys, new research suggests.

    For the study, researchers analyzed data from hospitals in more than 1,800 cities in Brazil between 2000 and 2015, and found that just over 7% of all admissions for kidney disease could be attributed to hotter temperatures.

    That equates to more than 202,000 cases of kidney disease, according to the report publi...

    A High-Tech Pointer to Pollutants That Trigger Asthma in Kids

    Dust mites and smoke are known triggers of asthma in children. Now, scientists have identified previously unknown combinations of air pollutants that appear tied to the respiratory disorder.

    "Asthma is one the most prevalent diseases affecting children in the United States. In this study, we developed a list of air pollutants a young child may be exposed to that can lead to longer-term pr...

    Air and Noise Pollution May Make You Vulnerable to Heart Failure

    Years of exposure to air pollution and traffic noise could make you more vulnerable to heart failure, a new study warns.

    "We found that long-term exposure to specific air pollutants and road traffic noise increased the risk of incident heart failure, especially for former smokers or people with hypertension, so preventive and educational measures are necessary," said lead study author You...

    Western Wildfires Are Making Easterners Sick: U.S. Study

    You might think that wildfires in the western United States would only affect folks in places like Colorado, California or Oregon.

    But a new study estimates that three-quarters of smoke-related deaths and visits to the emergency room for asthma in the United States happen east of the Rocky Mount...

    Tree Rings Show Hurricanes Becoming Wetter, Longer, More Dangerous

    The rings of stately pines on the coasts of North and South Carolina offer telling long-term evidence of climate change and a chilling forecast for the future.

    The upshot: The last 300 years have gotten wetter and wetter, making hurricanes ever more dangerous.

    "Our findings suggest that the maximum amount of rainfall from these storms is increasing and is likely going to continue to...

    Air Pollution Linked to 6 Million Premature Births in 1 Year

    Air pollution impacts the youngest humans, with new research linking dirty air to almost 6 million premature births and almost 3 million underweight babies worldwide in 2019.

    More than 90% of the world's population lives with polluted outdoor air, a new study points out. And its effects continue through the years: Preemies or children with low birth weight have higher rates of major illne...

    EPA to Sharply Limit Refrigerant Production in New Climate Rule

    In a move to combat global warming, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday that it will restrict U.S. production and use of hydrofluorocarbons by 85% over the next 15 years.

    Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are potent greenhouse gases often used in refrigerators and air conditioners, and they are vastly more powerful than carbon dioxide. These gases can leak into the a...

    Trouble Concentrating at Work? Your Office Air May Be to Blame

    It's fair to say most bosses want their employees to have high productivity.

    Unfortunately, the air that office workers breathe may put a damper on quick thinking and fast work.

    A new study found increased concentrations of fine particulate matter, called PM2.5, and lower ventilation rates were linked to slower response times and reduced accuracy.

    "PM2.5 is a very nasty pollut...

    9/11 First Responders Face Higher Cancer Risk 20 Years Later

    Twenty years on, responders to the World Trade Center attacks in New York City are showing increased risks of certain cancers, two new studies confirm.

    Researchers found higher-than-average rates of prostate cancer among firefighters, medics and other workers who toiled at the disaster site on and after Sept. 11, 2001.

    And compared with firefighters from other major U.S. cities...

    Is Your Workplace an Asthma Trigger?

    Workers, take heed: Your place of work can help bring on or exacerbate asthma, a new study suggests.

    Common workplace triggers include poor ventilation and moldy air conditioning systems, cleaning products and even the toner used in printers, the researchers said. Employees with asthma caused by the office environment often quit, the researchers said, especially if employers don't do anyt...