Guidance to Reduce the Cardiovascular Burden of Ambient Air Pollutants: A Policy Statement from the American Heart Association

Joel D. Kaufman, Mitchell S.V. Elkind, Aruni Bhatnagar, Kirsten Koehler, John R. Balmes, Stephen Sidney, Melissa S. Burroughs Peña, Douglas W. Dockery, Lifang Hou, Robert D. Brook, Francine Laden, Sanjay Rajagopalan, Katherine Bishop Kendrick, Jay R. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In 2010, the American Heart Association published a statement concluding that the existing scientific evidence was consistent with a causal relationship between exposure to fine particulate matter and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and that fine particulate matter exposure is a modifiable cardiovascular risk factor. Since the publication of that statement, evidence linking air pollution exposure to cardiovascular health has continued to accumulate and the biological processes underlying these effects have become better understood. This increasingly persuasive evidence necessitates policies to reduce harmful exposures and the need to act even as the scientific evidence base continues to evolve. Policy options to mitigate the adverse health impacts of air pollutants must include the reduction of emissions through action on air quality, vehicle emissions, and renewable portfolio standards, taking into account racial, ethnic, and economic inequality in air pollutant exposure. Policy interventions to improve air quality can also be in alignment with policies that benefit community and transportation infrastructure, sustainable food systems, reduction in climate forcing agents, and reduction in wildfires. The health care sector has a leadership role in adopting policies to contribute to improved environmental air quality as well. There is also potentially significant private sector leadership and industry innovation occurring in the absence of and in addition to public policy action, demonstrating the important role of public-private partnerships. In addition to supporting education and research in this area, the American Heart Association has an important leadership role to encourage and support public policies, private sector innovation, and public-private partnerships to reduce the adverse impact of air pollution on current and future cardiovascular health in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-447
Number of pages16
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • AHA Scientific Statements
  • air pollution
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • particulate matter
  • policy making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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