HealthDay News — Blacks have significantly higher exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (particles with median aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm [PM2.5]), with exposure associated with elevated blood glucose, worse endothelial function, and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published online in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Sebhat Erqou, MD, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues used data from the Heart Strategies Concentrating on Risk Evaluation study to estimate the one-year average air pollution exposure to PM2.5 and black carbon (BC). Associations with clinical outcomes were assessed after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors. Data were included for 1717 participants (45% black).

The researchers found that compared with whites, blacks had significantly higher exposure to PM2.5. There was an independent association for exposure to PM2.5, but not BC, with higher blood glucose and worse arterial endothelial function. For a median follow-up of 8.3 years, PM2.5 correlated with an increased risk for incident CVD events and all-cause mortality combined. In models adjusted for relevant covariates, blacks had 1.45 higher risk (95% CI, 1.00-2.09) of combined CVD events and all-cause mortality than whites; the correlation was modestly attenuated after adjustment for PM2.5.

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“Blacks had a higher rate of incident CVD events and all-cause mortality than whites that was only partly explained by higher exposure to PM2.5,” the authors wrote.

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Ergou S, Clougherty JE, Olafiranye O, et al. Particulate matter air pollution and racial differences in cardiovascular disease risk [published online March 15, 2018]. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.117.310305