Hazardous Haze

Even brief exposure to air pollution can raise a heart attack risk

Dominic Burke / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Air pollution.

Eating too much fatty food, exercising too little and smoking can raise your future risk of heart disease. But there's another factor that can trigger your ticker more immediately: the air you breathe.

Previous studies have linked high exposure to environmental pollution to an increased risk of heart problems, but two analyses now show that poor air quality can lead to heart attack or stroke within as little as a few hours after exposure. In one review of the research, scientists found that people exposed to high levels of pollutants, including carbon monoxide and fine particulates emitted by cars and manufacturing...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!