Air pollution near busy roads is as bad as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, study finds

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AIR pollution near a busy road is as bad for the lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, says a new study.

It fuels deadly emphysema — an obstructive disease that causes breathing difficulties.

Getty – Contributor

Breathing in air pollution near a busy road is just like smoking 20 cigarettes a day, a study found[/caption]

Living on a busy road for a decade was found to be equivalent to getting through a packet of fags daily — for 29 years.

Prof Joel Kaufman, of the University of Washington in the US, said: “Rates of chronic lung disease in this country are going up and increasingly it is recognised that this disease occurs in non-smokers.

“We were surprised to see how strong air pollution’s impact was on the progression of emphysema on lung scans.

“We really need to understand what’s causing chronic lung disease, and it appears that air pollution exposures that are common and hard to avoid might be a major contributor,” he added.

Previous research has shown a clear link between air pollution and heart and lung diseases.

But the latest study is the first to show an association with emphysema — particularly from ozone which is fuelled by climate change.


The team followed more than 7,000 people from 2000 to 2018 in six US urban areas.

Most airborne pollutants are in decline with efforts to reduce them working, but dangerous ozone has been increasing.

Earlier this year, research found air pollution is responsible for the deaths of nearly nine million people across the world each year.

 

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