Live near a freeway? Some of us are fortunate enough to answer “No I don’t.” But the fact is many Americansdolive near freeways and heavily trafficked roadways. The new American Lung Association State of the Air 2012 report last week pointed out that 50 million Americans are still breathing dangerous air polluted by particles that come mostly from automobile and truck traffic.
This week the American Heart Association delivered another stern warning: Heart attack survivors who live near a freeway or major roadway are at greater risk of dying from all causes. And the closer to traffic they live, the greater the risk. For those living within 328 feet (9997.44 cm) of a major roadway, the increased likelihood of dying within 10 years is 27 percent. In the four counties around Los Angeles alone, more than 1.5 million people live within 984 feet (29,992.32 cm) to major freeways. Of the 3,500 heart attack survivors tracked in the new American Heart Association study, 1,100 died during the ten year period after their attacks. The primary cause was cardiovascular disease, followed by cancer and respiratory disease.
For heart attack survivors, air pollution is one of a handful of suspected causes of the increased death rate. “We think there is exposure to a combination of air pollution near these roadways and other exposure, such as excessive noise or stress from living close to the roadway, that may contribute to the study findings,” said Murray A. Mittleman, M.D., Dr.PH, study author and director of the Cardiovascular Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass.
An air purifier may not help with the excessive noise and stress from nearby highways, but a high-performance air purifiercanhelp reduce the level of air pollution indoors. The IQAir HealthPro Plus air purifier, for example, clears more than 99.97% of all particles in the air passing through it. And considering that Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, it’s understandable the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends using an air purifier along with reducing pollution sources and ventilating indoor spaces with outdoor air.
Still, the latest study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center confirms that until residential areas are consistently located away from major roadways, an efficient HEPA air purifier, combined with not smoking, eating a healthy diet, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol are all components of modern home life.