Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have joined forces with the cardiovascular community and the wider public in occasion of World Heart Day (29 September) to inform EU citizens and policymakers that air and noise pollution are environmental health risks which have severe consequences on heart health (1-4).
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, are the n°1 killer worldwide and in Europe, where they cause the death of over 10 000 people daily, i.e. more than all cancers combined (5).
CVD account for 80% of all premature deaths due to air pollution (2). The effects may be so serious that experts advise heart disease patients to stay inside during rush hour traffic.
Noise pollution increases the risk of CVD, including hypertension and heart disease. In Europe, it is estimated to contribute to at least 10 000 premature deaths due to heart disease and stroke each year (6).
Public policies can and should do much to protect health and, ultimately, to reduce the burden of CVD in Europe.
The MEP Heart Group supported the ‘Environment & the Heart Campaign’, launched by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), together with the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR) and the European Heart Network (EHN), to raise awareness about the need to create healthy environments for the protection of heart health and to encourage policymakers’ action.
The outcome of the campaign together with the ‘Environment & the Heart Call for Action’ were presented to the European Commission on World Heart Day (29 September), which this year also focused on creating heart healthy environments. From left to right: Frans Van de Werf, Chair ESC European Affairs Committee; Mairead McGuinness MEP, Co-Chair MEP Heart Group; Simon Gillespie, EHN President; Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.
Read the press release here
(1) ESC position paper on air pollution and cardiovascular disease: http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/12/08/eurheartj.ehu458
(2) Munzel T, et al. Environmental hazards, air pollution, and noise as novel cardiovascular risk factors. http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/28/1776.2.full?etoc
(3) British Heart Foundation. Policy Statement on Air Pollution. https://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/policy-documents/air-pollution-policy-statement
(4) Gold DR, et al. Air Pollution, Climate and Heart Disease. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/128/21/e411.full
(5) European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2012
(6) SOER 2015 — The European environment — state and outlook 2015 http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer-2015/synthesis/report/0c-executivesummary