Air Pollution: Why it's not just your Lungs that Suffer Studies reveal that exposure to air pollution increases the risk of heart attacks

July 25, 2011

Did you know that breathing in dirty air is causing more heart attacks than you think?

Studies reveal that air pollution is one of the top triggers of heart attacks, along with physical exertion, alcohol and drug use, on an average, population wide basis.

“The relevance of air pollution as a trigger in the population is of the same magnitude of risk of many other clinically appreciated or recognized triggers of heart attack, notes scientist Tim Nawrot who conducted a study linking air pollution to increased rates of heart attacks.

Published in the Lancet Journal, Nawrot and a group of scientists combined data from 35 separate studies that calculated the relative risk posed by a series of heart attack triggers and their population attributable fraction  (PAF) – the proportion of total heart attacks estimated to have been caused by varous triggers.

Aside from this, findings by the Clean Air Network (CAN) in Hong Kong showed that two hours of exposure to high roadside pollution causes an increase in heart rate, upping the risk of having a heart attack. The CAN also found that exposure to particulate matter alters the electrical impulses in the heart (which can cause arrhythmia) even in an otherwise healthy person.

Clearly these studies raise questions about widening the focus on heart attack triggers – away from a narrow consideration of individual risk factors, which are certainly important, to include more universal ones, such as air quality or traffic exposure, which are ubiquitous problems in cities.

Fighting air pollution: Painting a safe environment through art
With today’s rapid industrialization resulting in more vehicle use, worse traffic conditions and consequently, increasingly unsafe and contaminated air, more and more people are becoming vulberable to an assortment of health problems, heart attacks being one of them. Now, one creative way of cleaning the air is through the BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ Project: EDSA, also known as “Everyone Deserves Safe Air,” an initiative to simultaneously alleviate air pollution and launche Manila to the world as the new site of large-scale public art projects in gritty environments.

Initiated by BOYSEN® Paints, the project will showcase eight artworks that will act as “air cleaners” along the nearly 24-kilometer stretch of historic Epifanio de los Santos Avenue while engaging commuters in a “conversation” about urban renewal.

BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™, a breakthrough paint technology that has been proven to transform up to 10 cars’ worth of emissions per square meter painted, will be at the forefront of the project as it will be used by artists to convey their message through their preferred media.

BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ has previously backed advocacy projects that also aimed to help clean the air, such as the Green Walls initiative and the One Wall One World campaign. To find out how you can be one of the citizens or companoes who are stepping up to clean our air, visit
- Courtesy of The Daily Tribune