A study has found that adults with long-term exposure to ozone (O3) may have increased risk of dying from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers examined the cause of death over a 22-year period for more than 237,000 participants using data taken from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study (CPS-II). They also looked at levels of fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution, an established cause of premature mortality, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, which has been linked to premature mortality.
The study found that for every additional 10 parts per billion (ppb) in long-term ozone exposure, the risk of dying increased by 12% from lung disease, 3% from cardiovascular disease, and 2% from all causes. The study noted that the increased risk of death was highest for diabetes (16%), followed by dysrhythmias, heart failure and cardiac arrest (15%) and by COPD (14%).
Based on the annual 8-hour average, researchers found the association between ozone and mortality began at 35 ppb – noting that many communities are above this level.