6 June 2024

Fine dust particles in the atmosphere do not just harm the lungs, but also the heart as well, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, according to Dr. Thiravat Hemachudha of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Centre at Chulalongkorn Hospital.

In a Facebook post, he warned that PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) can also increase the risk of coronary heart disease, citing a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on January 26th.

The risk of coronary heart disease increases for every 10 micron increase in PM2.5 and PM10 dust in the atmosphere, up to 33.3 and 57.3 microns respectively. The risk of death from fine dust particles increases 4.14%, compared to 1.3% from nitrogen dioxide emitted from car engines.

Dr. Thiravat also cited a study, conducted in China from 2013-2018, which confirms the relationship between fine dust particles and coronary heart disease and that the particulate matter does not only harm the lungs but the heart as well.

He noted that people over 75 are more vulnerable to the risk of death, adding that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the cases of coronary heart disease caused by fine dust particles dropped substantially, due to a sharp drop in air travel and car use.

The number of people suffering from diseases related to air pollution in Thailand increased to 376,165, from 163,491, within a week at the end of January, according to the Ministry of Public Health, citing information from the HDC system.

These include:

  • 165,879 cases of respiratory diseases, an increase of 72,430 cases
  • 80,248 cases of skin infection, an increase of 31.571 cases
  • 70,206 cases of eye infection, an increase of 29,605 cases
  • 54,434 cases of coronary heart disease and cerebral thrombosis, an increase of 26,828 cases