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Air pollution levels for people living near a busy road are as bad for the lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, according to a new study.
It fuels deadly emphysema, a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that causes breathing difficulties.
Road - Decade - Packet - Cigarettes - Years
Living on a busy road for a decade was found to be equivalent to getting through a packet of cigarettes daily for 29 years.
Senior co-author Professor Joel Kaufman, of the University of Washington, said: 'We were surprised to see how strong air pollution's impact was on the progression of emphysema on lung scans, in the same league as the effects of cigarette smoking, which is by far the best-known cause of emphysema.'
Research - Link - Air - Pollution - Heart
Previous research has shown a clear link between air pollution and heart and lung diseases.
But the latest study, published in JAMA, is the first to show an association with emphysema.
Problem - Ozone - Toxic - Greenhouse - Gas
There is a particular problem with ozone, a toxic greenhouse gas formed when pollutants emitted by cars and factories chemically react in the presence of sunlight.
Increasing rates of the potentially fatal lung disease were seen on lung scans of participants.
Emphysema - Condition - Destruction - Lung - Tissue
Emphysema is a condition in which destruction of lung tissue leads to wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, and...
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