Understanding Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Diseases: Is It Preventable?

  • Masako Morishita
  • Kathryn C. Thompson
  • Robert D. Brook
Heart Failure Prevention (W Tang, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Heart Failure Prevention


Fine particulate matter (<2.5 μm, PM2.5) air pollution is a leading risk factor for morbidity and mortality worldwide. The largest portion of adverse health effects is from cardiovascular diseases. In North America, PM2.5 concentrations have shown a steady decline over the past several decades; however, the opposite trend has occurred throughout much of the developing world whereby daily concentrations commonly reach extraordinarily high levels. While air quality regulations can reduce air pollution at a societal level, what individuals can do to reduce their personal exposures remains an active field of investigation. Here, we review the emerging evidence that several interventions (e.g., air filters) and/or behavioral changes can lower PM pollution exposure and as such, may be capable of mitigating the ensuing adverse cardiovascular health consequences. Air pollution remains a worldwide epidemic and a multi-tiered prevention strategy is required in order to optimally protect global public health.


Air pollution Interventions Cardiovascular disease risks 



This work was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health grants (R01NR014484 and P30ES017885). The authors wish to thank Dr. Mitch Patrie for his comments and review.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Robert Brook, Masako Morishita, and Kathryn Thompson have no conflicts relevant to this work.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masako Morishita
    • 1
  • Kathryn C. Thompson
    • 1
  • Robert D. Brook
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Division of Cardiovascular MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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