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Heart doctors lay out health effects of air pollution and urge climate action

Individuals with heart disease should avoid being outside during rush-hour traffic, and policymakers should "urgently" pass laws to lower the levels of air pollution by reducing the use of fossil fuels, declared a major European heart-disease organization, the European Society of Cardiology, in a position paper published Tuesday in the European Heart Journal.

More than 3 million deaths worldwide each year can be attributed to ambient (outdoor) air pollution, the heart-disease experts point out. Indeed, air pollution ranks ninth globally among modifiable risk factors for disease — above such other commonly recognized factors as low physical activity, a diet high in sodium or cholesterol, and illicit drug use.

Air pollution is also responsible for a significant portion of the time people around the world spend in states of reduced health, the experts add.

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