Thomas Münzel MD, Andreas Daiber PhD, Ulrich Pöschl PhD and Jos Lelieveld PhD discuss the link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease in Europe

By way of an introduction, ambient and household air (indoor air) pollution are considered to be major health risk factors leading to morbidity and premature mortality with significant direct and indirect costs to the community1. The World Health Organization (WHO)2 and the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project1 calculated for 2015, 4.2 million premature deaths per year worldwide due to air pollution especially by particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 µm (PM2.5). More than half of the deaths were the result of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease due to embolic and hemorrhagic stroke but also due to other non-communicable diseases such as arterial hypertension, diabetes, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


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