People living in the city may have learned to adapt to air pollution, but experts warn that managing to live with it doesn't makes it safe. Two new studies featured on NBC News report that there is no real "safe" level of pollution for your lungs, and air pollution may also worsen heart failure.

In the first study, researcher Ole Raaschou-Nielsen and his colleagues from the Danish Cancer Society Research Center examined data from 17 studies, which involved more than 300,000 participants, 2,095 of whom developed lung cancer in a span of 13 years. Based on their analysis, every extra five micrograms of soot per cubic meter of air raised a person’s lung cancer risk by 18 percent.

In the second study, researcher Nicholas Mills and his team from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland looked at data from 35 previous works that examined chemical compounds found in air pollution. Results show that exposure to one part per million of carbon monoxide may increase heart failure risk by 3.5 percent, and breathing in 10 micrograms per cubic meter of particulates or soot may raise it by two percent.

Although air pollution is something that most people can't escape, exposure to it can be lessened. Covering your nose while walking along main thoroughfares may help, but try to avoid busy highways as much as possible. Keeping your body healthy by eating right and exercising regularly may strengthen your heart and lungs, and keep chronic diseases at bay.

(Photo by Michael Francis McCarthy via Flickr Creative Commons)


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