Fine dust: An invisible danger for the lung, heart and vessels
Fine dust is more harmful to health and more widespread than previously thought
National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina: Fine dust favours the development of serious diseases
The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina demands additional efforts from environmental and health policy makers to further reduce the air pollution with particulate matter. They say that the sources of particulate matter are more diverse and the resulting damage to health more serious than previously assumed.
Dangerous fine dust is on everyone's lips and that in the truest sense of the word.
Fine dust particles, also known as particulate matter, are respirable particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm. The smaller these fine particles are, the deeper they can penetrate the body and organ systems. Particulate matter can cause inflammation in the bronchi and lungs, and slow down children's lung growth. According to the Leopoldina, other consequences of particulate matter include heart attacks, strokes and accelerated arteriosclerosis. Inflammatory processes have also been observed in the brain and have been linked to a faster development of dementia in older people as well as delayed intelligence development in children. In addition to inflammatory reactions, fine dust can also cause damage to the cardiovascular system in other ways.
Study from Oxford University confirms: Particulate matter responsible for 15 percent of global corona deaths
Researchers have long suspected that the pollution with particulate matter has an influence on the course of disease in COVID-19 patients, since particulate matter weakens the immune system and attacks the lung tissue. This is now confirmed by new research results from the renowned University of Oxford, published in the medical journal "Cardiovascular Research". The results show that there is a correlation between high pollution with particulate matter and an increased risk of dying from COVID-19. The scientists have calculated that on average 15 percent of global corona deaths are due to victims having inhaled polluted air over a long period of time. The research results suggest that particulate matter pollution is an important factor increasing the mortality risk from COVID-19.
European Environment Agency: Around 400,000 premature deaths from particulate matter across Europe
According to the latest EEA report "Air quality in Europe - 2020 report", only four European countries have particulate matter concentrations below the stricter value of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Germany is not one of them. The European Environment Agency's report adds that particulate matter pollution will cause around 417,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2018. The new EEA analysis is based on the latest official air quality data reported by more than 4,000 monitoring stations across Europe in 2018.
"The EEA data show that investing in better air quality is an investment in better health and productivity for all Europeans", says EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx.
Air quality and COVID-19
The report also confirms that long-term exposure to air pollutants causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, both of which have been identified as risk factors for a lethal outcome in COVID-19 patients. The causal link between air pollution and the severity of the COVID-19 disease is unclear; further epidemiological research is needed on this matter.
German TV programme "Tagesschau" (ARD) of 23/11/2020, 8:00 p.m.
The air quality in Europe has improved. Nevertheless, thousands of people die every year because of the still high levels of air pollution. New studies seem to show that the pollution with particulate matter also has an impact on COVID-19 deaths.
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