Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 320 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 15-Nov-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 16-Nov-2004
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Effects of ozone on mortality in 23 European cities

In their analysis of the effects of ozone on mortality in 23 European cities, investigators found that death due to respiratory disease was more strongly associated with ozone exposure than was either the total or cardiovascular rate.

The researchers found that ozone's effects on mortality took place almost exclusively during the warm months. (Ozone is toxic gas that irritates tissue. Found commonly in the stratosphere, photochemical reactions occur under certain conditions at the earth's surface that produce concentrations which irritate the eyes, mucus membranes, and lung tissue. The compound is considered one of the most toxic components of the photochemical air pollution mixture.)

For this study, data on mortality, including natural, cardiovascular, and respiratory death rates, was obtained from 23 European cities covering at least a three-year time period.

According to the authors, in 19 of 23 cities, ozone was found to be associated with an increase in mortality during the warmer months. The investigators noted that the seasonal pattern of ozone was in direct contrast to the annual cycle of daily mortality which usually peaks during the winter months.

They said that Turin, Prague, Budapest, and Athens had the highest median ozone concentrations, while Tel-Aviv, London, and Paris had the lowest. They said that the major part of the excess mortality linked to ozone levels is classified as cardiovascular or respiratory deaths, which probably occur in cardiopulmonary-compromised individuals.

The study appears in the second issue for November 2004 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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