In a large study by EPA and Duke University, researchers identified several novel genes associated with coronary artery atherosclerosis in heart patients who have been exposed to traffic-related air pollution for a long time. Atherosclerosis results in plaque build-up in the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The research adds to the large body of evidence that shows the link between air pollution near roadways and cardiovascular disease. While other studies have looked at the gene-air pollution connection, this is the first to examine the entire genome and its potential to respond to emissions from traffic. The article was published in the journal PLoS One.
EPA is raising awareness of heart disease and its link to air pollution and other environmental factors as a partner in Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes. EPA’s Healthy Heart Toolkit is a useful resource to learn about air pollution and how it can affect your heart health.