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Air pollution is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adults. Air pollution is likely to change the arterial wall function and structure. Atherosclerotic vascular disease is a lifelong process and childhood exposure to pollution may play a critical role. At the GGHDC we investigated whether air pollution is related to arterial wall changes in 5-year old children. Air pollution exposure methodology was developed including time-weighted activity patterns improving upon epidemiological studies which assess exposure at residential addresses.
Air pollution assessments were based on annual average concentration maps of Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Oxides at 5 m resolution derived from ESCAPE. The results of this project which was led by Anna-Maria Ntarladima, is published here. The outcomes support the view that air pollution exposure may reduce ‘arterial distensibility’ starting in young children. If the reduced distensibility persists, this may have clinical relevance later in life. The results of this study further stress the importance of reducing environmental pollutant exposures.