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1.  Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Cardiorespiratory Disease in the California Teachers Study Cohort 
Rationale: Several studies have linked long-term exposure to particulate air pollution with increased cardiopulmonary mortality; only two have also examined incident circulatory disease.
Objectives: To examine associations of individualized long-term exposures to particulate and gaseous air pollution with incident myocardial infarction and stroke, as well as all-cause and cause-specific mortality.
Methods: We estimated long-term residential air pollution exposure for more than 100,000 participants in the California Teachers Study, a prospective cohort of female public school professionals. We linked geocoded residential addresses with inverse distance-weighted monthly pollutant surfaces for two measures of particulate matter and for several gaseous pollutants. We examined associations between exposure to these pollutants and risks of incident myocardial infarction and stroke, and of all-cause and cause-specific mortality, using Cox proportional hazards models.
Measurements and Main Results: We found elevated hazard ratios linking long-term exposure to particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), scaled to an increment of 10 μg/m3 with mortality from ischemic heart disease (IHD) (1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02–1.41) and, particularly among postmenopausal women, incident stroke (1.19; 95% CI, 1.02–1.38). Long-term exposure to particulate matter less than 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) was associated with elevated risks for IHD mortality (1.06; 95% CI, 0.99–1.14) and incident stroke (1.06; 95% CI, 1.00–1.13), while exposure to nitrogen oxides was associated with elevated risks for IHD and all cardiovascular mortality.
Conclusions: This study provides evidence linking long-term exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 with increased risks of incident stroke as well as IHD mortality; exposure to nitrogen oxides was also related to death from cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC3208653  PMID: 21700913
particulate matter; cardiovascular diseases; air pollutants; epidemiology
2.  Coarse Particles and Heart Rate Variability among Older Adults with Coronary Artery Disease in the Coachella Valley, California 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2006;114(8):1215-1220.
Alterations in cardiac autonomic control, assessed by changes in heart rate variability (HRV), provide one plausible mechanistic explanation for consistent associations between exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) and increased risks of cardiovascular mortality. Decreased HRV has been linked with exposures to PM10 (PM with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 μm) and with fine particles (PM with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm) originating primarily from combustion sources. However, little is known about the relationship between HRV and coarse particles [PM with aerodynamic diameter 10–2.5 μm (PM10–2.5)], which typically result from entrainment of dust and soil or from mechanical abrasive processes in industry and transportation. We measured several HRV variables in 19 nonsmoking older adults with coronary artery disease residing in the Coachella Valley, California, a desert resort and retirement area in which ambient PM10 consists predominantly of PM10–2.5. Study subjects wore Holter monitors for 24 hr once per week for up to 12 weeks during spring 2000. Pollutant concentrations were assessed at nearby fixed-site monitors. We used mixed models that controlled for individual-specific effects to examine relationships between air pollutants and several HRV metrics. Decrements in several measures of HRV were consistently associated with both PM10 and PM10–2.5; however, there was little relationship of HRV variables with PM2.5 concentrations. The magnitude of the associations (~ 1–4% decrease in HRV per 10-μg/m3 increase in PM10 or PM10–2.5) was comparable with those observed in several other studies of PM. Elevated levels of ambient PM10–2.5 may adversely affect HRV in older subjects with coronary artery disease.
PMCID: PMC1552018  PMID: 16882528
cardiovascular; coarse particles; epidemiology; heart rate variability; particulate matter; PM; PM2.5; PM10; PM10–2.5
3.  Air pollution and lung function among susceptible adult subjects: a panel study 
Environmental Health  2006;5:11.
Adverse health effects at relatively low levels of ambient air pollution have consistently been reported in the last years. We conducted a time-series panel study of subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) to evaluate whether daily levels of air pollutants have a measurable impact on the lung function of adult subjects with pre-existing lung or heart diseases.
Twenty-nine patients with COPD, asthma, or IHD underwent repeated lung function tests by supervised spirometry in two one-month surveys. Daily samples of coarse (PM10–2.5) and fine (PM2.5) particulate matter were collected by means of dichotomous samplers, and the dust was gravimetrically analyzed. The particulate content of selected metals (cadmium, chrome, iron, nickel, lead, platinum, vanadium, and zinc) was determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Ambient concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) were obtained from the regional air-quality monitoring network. The relationships between concentrations of air pollutants and lung function parameters were analyzed by generalized estimating equations (GEE) for panel data.
Decrements in lung function indices (FVC and/or FEV1) associated with increasing concentrations of PM2.5, NO2 and some metals (especially zinc and iron) were observed in COPD cases. Among the asthmatics, NO2 was associated with a decrease in FEV1. No association between average ambient concentrations of any air pollutant and lung function was observed among IHD cases.
This study suggests that the short-term negative impact of exposure to air pollutants on respiratory volume and flow is limited to individuals with already impaired respiratory function. The fine fraction of ambient PM seems responsible for the observed effects among COPD cases, with zinc and iron having a potential role via oxidative stress. The respiratory function of the relatively young and mild asthmatics included in this study seems to worsen when ambient levels of NO2 increase.
PMCID: PMC1475828  PMID: 16674831

Results 1-3 (3)