Air Pollution Now Known as Cause of Lung, Heart & Brain Diseases

by Duane Nichols on April 28, 2015

Air pollution increases risk of dementia

From an Article by Laura Donnelly, April 23, 2015

A study of more than 900 adults found that those living near major roads suffered cerebral shrinkage, ageing their brains by the equivalent of one year, and increasing their dementia risk. The new research suggests long term exposure to air-borne pollutants can cause damage to brain structures and impair thinking and memory in middle-aged and older adults.

Those living near main roads had smaller brains, and “covert brain infarcts”, a type of “silent” stroke, which results from a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain. Researchers looked at how far patients aged over 60 who did not have a stroke or dementia lived from major roads. They then used satellite images to assess prolonged exposure to air pollution.

Dr Elissa Wilker, a researcher in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, said: Our findings suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain ageing, even in dementia and stroke-free individuals.”

The evaluation included total cerebral brain volume, which is a marker of atrophy of the brain, hippocampal volume, which reflect changes in the area of the brain that controls memory; white matter hyperintensity volume, which can be used as a measure of pathology and ageing; and covert brain infarcts.

The study, published in the journal Stroke, found that small increases in air pollution – an increase of only two microgram per cubic meter of air, to levels commonly found in cities, was sufficient to increase the risks. Dr Wilker said the mechanisms were unclear, but that it might be that the body suffered inflammation as a result of the deposit of fine particles in the lungs.

Professor of Neurology Dr Sudha Seshadri at Boston University School of Medicine said: “On average participants who lived in more polluted areas had the brain volume of someone a year older than participants who lived in less polluted areas. “They also had a 46 per cent higher risk of silent strokes. This is concerning since we know that silent strokes increase the risk of overt strokes and of developing dementia, walking problems and depression.”

Last year researchers suggested that commuters could cut their air pollution intake in half simply by using the side streets in major cities rather than main roads. Dr Rossa Brugha, a paediatrician and pollution researcher at Queen Mary, University of London, said walkers can make small adjustments to their route which could have major benefits on their health. 


Above study also reported here::

Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution May Pose Risk to Brain Structure, Cognitive Functions


Group Against Smog & Pollution, Public Meeting, April 30, 2015

Making the Connection: Air Pollution and Heart Health

Air pollution can affect heart health and trigger heart attacks and strokes that cause disability and death. One in three Americans has heart or blood vessel disease and is at higher risk from air pollution. Not only does air pollution exacerbate existing heart problems, but it may also play a role in the development of heart disease in otherwise healthy people. On April 30, join GASP and leading medical professionals as they explore this connection further.

Keynote speaker Wayne Cascio, MD and Director of EPA’s Environmental Public Health Division, has spent more than 25 years as a cardiologist helping people take care of their hearts. Now he is bringing a broader view of public health to EPA by leading research on the links between exposures to air pollution and maintaining a healthy heart.

Program is set for April 30, 2015. Time: 5-8 p.m.  
Networking, food, and drinks start at 5 p.m.; program begins promptly at 6 p.m. at the Allegheny General Hospital Magovern Conference Center, 320 East North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
This event is free and open to the public. Please register here. Continuing Medical Education Credits are available. This event is jointly provided by the Group Against Smog & Pollution and Allegheny General Hospital.

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SkyLark (4/28/15) April 28, 2015 at 4:56 am

Ethane Cracker Plant in Belmont County Would Add Pollution to Ohio Valley

By CASEY JUNKINS Staff Writer , Wheeling Intelligencer, April 28, 2015

Shadyside, OH — Air quality permits for proposed ethane cracker projects in Pennsylvania and West Virginia show they will bring carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, xylene and benzene, along with various other pollutants.

Environmental officials in both those states do not believe the estimated emissions from either proposed plant would violate the federal Clean Air Act. Still, if a pair of Asian firms proceed to build a $5 billion ethane cracker near Shadyside on the FirstEnergy Corp. R.E. Burger plant site and some surrounding property, air pollution is a strong possibility.

“To those who may be opposed to this type of plant, I can assure them it will be regulated like any other plant,” Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas said. “The permitting process will be very extensive.”

PTT Global and its Japanese partner, Marubeni Corp., last week joined Ohio and Belmont County officials to confirm intentions to build a $5 billion dollar ethane cracker. Officials believe the project could create thousands of temporary jobs during the construction phase and hundreds of full-time permanent jobs once it is online.

This is the third announced ethane cracker for the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, as Royal Dutch Shell continues evaluating plans for one in Monaca, Pa., while Odebrecht considers building one near Parkersburg.

Officials believe the projects make sense because the natural gas streams are rich with ethane, which usually means the liquid must be removed from the gas for the dry methane to go to market.

According to the application Shell filed with the Pennsylvania DEP, its cracker has the potential to emit the following pollutants on a yearly basis:

The application Odebrecht filed for the West Virginia project shows the facility would also emit pollutants such as xylene, benzene and hexane, though in relatively small quantities.
Most of the Burger plant shut down in 2010 to comply with federal environmental requirements.

The Asian companies are expected to make a final investment decision for the Belmont County ethane cracker by 2016, though they may spend about $150 million over the next few years to determine the viability of the project.


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