Study finds link between chemical air pollutants and cardiovascular diseases

May 15, 2013
 
A new study that utilizes a previous novel approach has revealed clues about certain chemical properties of air pollutants and their association with cardiovascular diseases.
 
Dr. Karin Yeatts

Dr. Karin Yeatts

The study applied quantitative ion character-activity relationships (QICAR) to estimate associations of human cardiovascular diseases with a set of metal properties commonly observed in ambient air pollutants. Results indicated that specific cardiovascular disease outcomes were statistically significant and associated with many ion properties reflecting ion size, solubility, oxidation potential and abilities to form covalent and ionic bonds. The properties are relevant for reactive oxygen species generation, which has been identified as a possible mechanism leading to cardiovascular diseases.

 
“We found that cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes were associated with chemical air pollutant properties,” said Karin Yeatts, PhD, research assistant professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “The properties we found to be important included size of the ion, its solubility and its ability to bond with other compounds. These properties influence a specific mechanism called reactive oxygen species generation, which may affect some cardiovascular diseases.”
Dr. Amy Herring

Dr. Amy Herring
Dr. Eric Whitsel

Dr. Eric Whitsel

The study, “Cardiovascular Outcomes and the Physical and Chemical Properties of Metal Ions Found in Particulate Matter Air Pollution: A QICAR Study,” appeared in the recent issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers included atmospheric chemists, toxicologists, environmental scientists, epidemiologists and biostatisticians.

Co-authors from UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health also included Amy Herring, ScD, professor of biostatistics, and Eric Whitsel, MD MPH, research associate professor of epidemiology. Co-author Jennifer Richmond Bryant received her doctorate from the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Gillings School.

The full study can be found online.

 

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Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.