Exposure to personal black carbon increases systolic BP

A study has demonstrated an association between personal black carbon and ambulatory BP unraveling another layer of the relationship between urbanization and hypertension

The air pollution and cardiometabolic disease (AIRCMD-China) study conducted in 2012 in Beijing, China assessed the personal black carbon using microaethalometers in patients with metabolic syndrome for 5 consecutive days from February to July.

Black carbon is the sooty black material emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, and other sources that burn fossil fuel. It constitutes a major part of particulate matter (EPA). It is also a marker of combustion-related anthropogenic air pollution

Simultaneous ambient fine particulate matter concentration was obtained from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center and the US Embassy.

On day 4 and onwards, 24-hour ambulatory BP and variability in heart rate were measured. Arterial stiffness and endothelial function were obtained at the end of day 5.

The mean (SD) of personal black carbon and fine particulate matter during 24 hours was 4.66 (2.89) and 64.2 (36.9) μg/m3. Exposure to high levels of black carbon in the preceding hours was associated significantly with adverse cardiovascular responses.

A unit increase in personal black carbon during the previous 10 hours was associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure of 0.53 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure of 0.37 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, 0.17–0.89 and 0.10–0.65 mm Hg, respectively), a percentage change in low frequency to high frequency ratio of 5.11 and mean inter-beat interval of −0.06 (95% confidence interval, 0.62–9.60 and −0.11 to −0.01, respectively).

These findings highlight the public health effect of air pollution and the importance of reducing air pollution.

(Source: Hypertension. 2014;63:871-7)

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