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Largest real-time environmental experiment further ties air pollution to heart health

In order to achieve acceptable air quality in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Chinese government imposed significant regulations in Beijing. By decreasing the number of cars allowed on the road by 50 percent as well as shutting down local factories and construction projects, the nation was able to achieve air quality that met the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) standards, The Atlantic reports.

Researchers took this opportunity to examine 125 healthy, young locals to measure heart health during the Olympics, and continued the experiment when air conditions and pollution rose back to previous levels.

"We hypothesized that biomarkers of cardiovascular health would change as air pollution levels change," Dr. Junfeng Zhang, Professor of Environmental and Global Health at USC, and senior author on the study, told The Atlantic. "And that is, in fact, what we found."

According to the study, as pollution levels decreased, the cardiovascular risk found in participants also dropped. In compliance with this finding, as pollution levels increased, there was indication of a greater negative impact on health.

These findings are just as applicable in the U.S. as in China. In metro areas such as New York City or Los Angeles, air quality is a common fear. Homeowners concerned about the impact of pollution can invest in the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier to improve indoor air quality and reduce heart risks.