A study by researchers at UCL and printed in Circulation - the journal from the American Heart Association, has revealed that even a short-term visit to a polluted city can have serious health implications,
The study involved 26 non-smoking, healthy adults who traveled from Los Angeles to Beijing during the summers of 2014 to 2015 over a ten-week period. The participants had blood samples taken and carefully analysed. The results showed that the participants experienced significant health changes during their time in Beijing, including higher levels of oxidized fats which can cause inflammation of the heart and a change in enzyme function with is associated with heart disease.
The study also showed that travelers had up to an 800% greater concentration of air pollutants in their bodies than they did when in Los Angeles.
Dr Jesus Araujo, the author of the study, said: ‘It is widely known that long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with increased cardiovascular disease, but it was unknown whether a short-term visit to a location with severe air pollution could have any significant impact.’
The researchers concluded that there are some ways to reduce the risk of developing health issues when traveling to locations with poor air quality.
Dr Araujo recommended avoiding intense physical activity, such as running outdoors or hiking. He also suggested that travelers with cardiovascular health conditions should avoid these locations for extended periods of time, especially around peak times of high air pollution levels.