|Facemasks have the potential to prevent cardiovascular events|
|Monday, 24 August 2009, Written by Julien|
As the concentration of fine particles is quite high in Beijing, it is a good place to assess the efficiency of facemasks . A team from the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences of Edinburgh University just published a scientific study on this topic . Their findings are quite interesting as they show some measurable improvements linked with wearing a mask.
Basically, 15 healthy volunteers were asked to walk on a predefined city centre route in Beijing in the presence and absence of a highly efficient facemask. Personal exposure to ambient air pollution and exercise was assessed continuously using portable real-time monitors and global positional system tracking respectively. Cardiovascular effects were assessed by continuous electrocardiographic and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
The conclusion of their study is straightforward:
"Wearing a facemask appears to abrogate the adverse effects of air pollution on blood pressure and heart rate variability. This simple intervention has the potential to protect susceptible individuals and prevent cardiovascular events in cities with high concentrations of ambient air pollution."
The mask tested was a dust respirator complying to FFP1 European standard and of course not a traditional Beijing Opera facemask!
Many thanks to Vance, a fellow blogger on pollution in Beijing, who sent me the link to this report. His great blog is available again in China at the following address: http://www.livefrombeijing.com
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