The influence of air pollution on cardiovascular and pulmonary function and exercise capacity: Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS)

Environ Res. 2011 Nov;111(8):1309-12. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2011.09.016. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Background: Air pollution has been associated with adverse cardiovascular effects.

Objective: To measure the association between air pollution, spirometry, blood pressure, and exercise capacity.

Methods: We used data from 5604 subjects collected during the Canada Health Measures Survey to test the association between air pollution measured on the day of the survey and spirometry (n=5011 subjects), blood pressure, and exercise capacity (n=3789 subjects).

Results: An interquartile range (IQR) increase in ozone (17.0 ppb) was significantly associated with a 0.883% higher resting heart rate, a 0.718% higher systolic and 0.407% higher diastolic blood pressure, a 0.393% lower FEV1/FVC expressed as a percentage of predicted, and a 1.52% reduction in the aerobic fitness score (p<0.05). Resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure were approximately 0.5 mmHg higher for an (IQR 4.5 μg/m3) increase in PM2.5 (IQR 4.5 μg/m3) and 1 mmHg higher for a 12.6 ppb increase in NO2 (IQR 12.6 ppb). An increase in PM2.5 was also associated with an approximate 0.4% decrease in percent predicted FEV1 and FVC (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Exposure to higher concentrations of air pollution was associated with higher resting blood pressure and lower ventilatory function. Ozone was associated with reduced exercise capacity.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution*
  • Canada
  • Exercise*
  • Heart Function Tests*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Function Tests*