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Air pollution cancels out the health benefits of a stroll in the city
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 11:56 PM

Walking is great exercise —getting air into the lungs and the blood pumping. But for adults over 60, walking in cities with heavy air pollution counters the health benefits, according to a new study.

The study,

published in The Lancet

, is the first to show the harmful impacts of air pollution to the lungs and hearts of people walking at a normal pace and suggests that it’s wise to seek out clean air and green space when choosing your route for a stroll.

“If people exercise in the right place they get the health benefits, if they exercise in a heavily polluted place, they’re not getting the benefits that they should,” said co author of the study, Jim Zhang, a professor of global and environmental health at Duke University.

Zhang and colleagues tracked 119 adults—some had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease, some were healthy—over the age of 60 after the participants did two-hour walks on Oxford Street and Hyde Park in London. Oxford Street has higher traffic and increased concentrations of black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and other harmful contaminants.

The scientists found that after walking on Oxford Street those with COPD experienced more coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. For all walkers, the less-polluted air of Hyde Park was linked to more lung function and decreases in artery stiffness—these benefits were not seen after they walked on Oxford Street.

“The current data are sufficiently compelling to advise older adults and chronic pulmonary and cardiac participants to avoid walking in highly polluted environments such as city streets with high traffic density,” the authors wrote.

Zhang said for the people with heart disease, those taking medication seemed to experience fewer adverse impacts from the Oxford Street pollution.

The study adds to a huge body of research showing air pollution is a major health risk—causing an estimated 5.5 million deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization.

Exposure to air pollution over long periods of time is linked to premature deaths via heart disease and COPD; while short term exposure is linked to reduced lung function, increased hospital visits due to breathing problems and restricted blood flow to the heart.

For many elderly people, or those with health problems, walking is the only exercise option, said co author of the study, Fan Chung, a professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College’s National Heart & Lung Institute.

Avoiding pollution may not be so easy in a city like London—the entire city exceeds World Health Organization health limits for small particulate matter (PM2.5), according to a

report released in October


Today I’ve announced that London is to trial a major new air quality monitoring system to analyse harmful pollution in up to 1,000 toxic hot spots across the city.

— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan)

December 5, 2017

Yesterday, however, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan,

announced an expansion of air quality testing in the city

, which will put monitoring at 1,000 locations.

In addition, if goals are met under a UK bicycling and walking report released in April, there would be an estimated 12,000 fewer deaths from air pollution over next 10 years, according to a

new study from UK-based Sustrans

, which advocates for more walking and cycling.

Such changes would also bolster the economy to the tune of an estimated $12.5 billion (or 9.3 billion British pounds).

“At a time when road transport is responsible for the majority of air quality limit breaches in the UK, it has never been more important to reduce the number of motorized vehicles on our roads,” Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans, said in a statement.

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Get ready for more California droughts thanks to climate change
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:37 PM

As fires rage in California, a new study indicates that the droughts that can fuel these fires are going to become more frequent in the coming decades – thanks to melting glaciers.

[News Source]

Climate change causing higher temperatures, more rain in Wisconsin
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:36 PM

Some of Wisconsin’s top researchers say climate change isn’t just a possibility for Wisconsin. It’s a reality that’s already happening, in the form of higher temperatures and more rain.

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3 companies sued over west Michigan water contamination
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:32 PM

Erin Brockovich lends support to suit against against shoe maker, two other companies over well water contamination.

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Judge orders giant pork producer to clean up water pollution
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:29 PM

A federal judge is telling a major pork producer to live up to an agreement it signed 11 years ago and work on cleaning up water pollution tied to almost a dozen industry-scale hog operations.

[News Source]

Somalia’s Puntland region declares state of emergency over drought
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:27 PM

Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and appealed for food and water because of shortages triggered by a severe drought.

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Hundreds of homes destroyed by out-of-control California wildfire
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:24 PM

A fast-moving wildfire whipped by hot, dry Santa Ana winds destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings in and around Ventura, California, on Tuesday as thousands of residents were forced to flee ahead of the flames.

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Oceans under greatest threat in history, warns Sir David Attenborough
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:21 PM

Blue Planet 2 producers say the final episode lays bare shocking damage humanity is wreaking in the seas, from climate change to plastic pollution to noise.

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Ryan Zinke recommends Trump shrink two more US national monuments
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 10:20 PM

Interior secretary wants to reduce Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon and California and Gold Butte in Nevada.

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Sri Lankan bowler vomits in Delhi cricket match due to polluted air
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 9:42 PM

Bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage are forced to take a break as harmful pollutants reach 12 times WHO safe limit.

[News Source]

Obama expected to address mayors’ summit on climate change
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 9:40 PM

Former President Barack Obama is expected to address a gathering of mayors from around the globe convening in Chicago to discuss climate change after President Donald Trump said the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate accord.

[News Source]

Climate change is radically reshuffling UK bird species, report finds
Tuesday December 05th 2017, 9:38 PM

New migrants are arriving while rising temperatures drive others away, and egg laying is taking place earlier in the year.

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