Yalecrest Community Council
Meeting Notes 12/7/16
Cardiovascular Health Effects of Air Pollution
Utah Physicians for a healthy environment
Dr. Cris Cowley
Example of granddaughters coughing after intense soccer game. Staggering research on
environmental effects of air pollution on our health.
Summer: ozone problem
Winter: inversion and PM2.5 pollution (particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or smaller)
The urban areas of the wasatch front earned an “F.” One of the most polluted cities in the USA.
beach sand 90 microns
human hair 50-70 microns
PM2.5 Combustion particles-can attached to white blood cell. Can get deep into the lung and
cross to blood stream. Most harmful to our health (PM2.5 and less). Lungs have a lot of surface
area to absorb toxins. Cells enter into oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction. Antioxidant
capacity lessens when are bodies are experiencing pollutant environment.
Ultra fine PM is not membrane bound, allowing direct access to mitochondria and DNA,
enhancing its toxicity. Because DNA affected, could be cause of higher cases of
diabetics/obesity, etc. Low grade inflammation affects arterial systems (blood flow to brain,
heart, other high blood flow organs is restricted). Particulate pollution accelerates artery
blockage and incidences of DVT (blood clot in your leg can increase 1000% with higher
pollution and still meet the standards).
Check ** www.air.utah.gov for current rating of air quality. App available as well.
Blood pressure is increased in everyone/across the world 1/2 after air pollution spike. Rates of
strokes and heart attaches increases as well. Greatest impact to your health is at lower levels of
pollution. Estimated 2,000 people die prematurely in Utah because of our air pollution. *There is
no safe level, every rating above 0 has impact.
Effects of air pollution are the same as those from smoking cigarettes (low grade inflammation,
cause small arteries to narrow, clotting system to become overreactive). Inflation of the arteries
allows fats, such as cholesterol, to deposit in the walls of the arteries, restricting blood flow.
Heart attacks and stoke are the primary results of air pollution deaths.
Women are at higher risk-35% higher risk of stroke; 24% heart attack; 76% risk of death from
either of these events. Not sure why women more vulnerable.
Summer ozone has many of the same affects, just not as potent.
Children who grow up with air pollution are less likely to develop full lung capacity.
4-17% of all deaths are due to air pollution.
What kind of air do you want? Effects of human psychology when you have clear/sunny day
verses impaired visibility/yucky air.
If you smoke, stop
Carpool/Be errand safe
Support www.uphe.org , non-profit “Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment”
View brochure for list of accomplishments. Recently hired 1 full-time and 1 part-time employee
to support the cause
Install better furnace filters (and often)
Cause of autism/birth defects from air pollution? Studies are in their early phases. Need a lot of
time to properly evaluate if there is a cause. Texas study: county map of power
plants/pollution/showed high cases of autism.
Children have a higher metabolic rate and take in more air and pollutes. Bad idea for them to
exercise outside, as with adults. Personal cut off under 15 if exercising outside. Masks don’t
really help with small particulates.
*Kids that walk to school learn to walk to adults.
Scott and Karin
How to Grow Fresh Air
Book: “How to Grow Fresh Air” by
2005-Hurricane Katrina. Great devastation. Brought in loads of trailers to help mis-placed
people. Noticing sicknesses and symptoms of living in trailers. Trailers had high levels of
Formaldehyde and other VOC’s which made them unsafe. Plants can’t help PM2.5, but can help
1.2% GDP (some many things in your home is made with formaldehydes). They way we
construct and build most everything is cheaper but health costs.
- Conserve energy; really good at keeping air out of homes which gives air tight homes that
Sick building syndrome:
Eye, nose throat
NASA example: Space/moon station. Did a study on indoor environments of VOC’s. Dr.
Wolverston did a study to try to remove them. PLANTS can be part of the solution!!
Photosynthesis review-Microbes in the soil provide some of the compounds needed to break it
down to harmless components. Some plants do a better job than others:
One 6-inch plant can clean 150 sq ft. A few larger plants can clean the air better.
Removal of chemical vapors 5.0/10
Transpiration rate 6.0/10 (equalize humidity)
Peace Lily (white blooms; low light; early warning system)
Removal of chemical vapors 8/10
Janet Craig(slow glowing; thick glossy leaves; tolerates low light; low watering)
Bamboo Palm (texture; easy care; medium light)
Living wall/green walls (LEAD credits)
Support local business and causes for clean air and environments.
Next meeting: February 2017
Newsletter: Air and radon; PLUME update.
Education/funding. Sales tax increase to support public education?
Legislative public policy: call all the time-not just when the air is bad. Comment when it is good.
In Utah 40-50% pollution is caused from commercial and private transportation (tailpipe
pollution) and building emissions.
Benzine exposure-connection to leukemia.