Objectives: This analysis assessed the association between blood pressure, meteorology, and air pollution in a random population sample.
Methods: Blood pressure measurements of 2607 men and women aged 25 to 64 years who participated in the Augsburg Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease survey were analyzed in association with 24-hour mean concentrations of air pollutants.
Results: During the air pollution episode in Europe in January 1985, an association between blood pressure and air pollution was observed, which disappeared after adjustment for meteorology. Continuous concentrations of total suspended particulates and sulfur dioxide were associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure of 1.79 mm Hg (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.63, 2.95) per 90 micrograms/m3 total suspended particulates and 0.74 mm Hg (95% CI = 0.08, 1.40) per 80 micrograms/m3 sulfur dioxide. In subgroups with high plasma viscosity levels and increased heart rates, systolic blood pressure increased by 6.93 mm Hg (95% CI = 4.31, 9.75) and 7.76 mm Hg (95% CI = 5.70, 9.82) in association with total suspended particulates.
Conclusions: The observed increase in systolic blood pressure associated with ambient air pollution could be related to a change in cardiovascular autonomic control.