Comment
3
Tweet
1
Print
RSS Feeds

Study: Traffic fumes can trigger heart attacks up to 6 hrs. later

Wednesday - 9/21/2011, 8:19am  ET

Exhaust512.jpg
Researchers say the heart attacks likely would have happened anyway eventually. Exposure to car exhaust just gets victims to the finish line more quickly. (AP)

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- Here's something to think about if you like driving with the windows down or jogging along roadways: Traffic fumes can trigger heart attacks for up to six hours after you've been exposed to car exhaust.

A study in the British Medical Journal making that claim says the danger comes from inhaling pollutant particles and nitrogen dioxide.

Drivers who inhaled those two substances are only 1.3 percent more likely to have a heart attack. But study authors still recommend people avoid exposure to pollution and exhaust, according to a report from The Guardian, especially if diagnosed with heart disease.

The study examined more than 79,000 heart attacks occurring over three years in 15 urban areas in England and Wales. It then compared the number of myocardial infarctions with hour by hour readings of car exhaust pollution.

The researchers say the heart attacks likely would have happened anyway eventually. Exposure to car exhaust just gets victims to the finish line more quickly.

More information on the study is available here.

Follow Kristi King and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)