BACKGROUND: Long-term exposure to air pollution is hypothesized to elevate arterial blood pressure (BP). The existing evidence is scarce and country-specific. OBJECTIVES: We investigated the cross-sectional association of long-term traffic-related air pollution with BP and prevalent hypertension in European populations. METHODS: Fifteen population-based cohorts, participating in the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE), were analysed. Residential exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides was modelled with land use regression using a uniform protocol. Traffic exposure was assessed with traffic indicator variables. We analysed systolic and diastolic BP in participants medicated and non-medicated with BP lowering medication (BPLM) separately, adjusting for personal and area-level risk factors and environmental noise. Prevalent hypertension was defined as ≥ 140 mmHg systolic, or ≥ 90 mmHg diastolic BP, or intake of BPLM. We combined cohort-specific results using random-effects meta-analysis. RESULTS: In the main meta-analysis of 113,926 participants, traffic load on major roads within 100 m of the residence was associated with increased systolic and diastolic BP in non-medicated participants (0.35 mmHg [95% CI: 0.02-0.68] and 0.22 mmHg [95% CI: 0.04-0.40] per 4,000,000 vehicles × m/day, respectively). The estimated odds ratio for prevalent hypertension was 1.05 [95% CI: 0.99-1.11] per 4,000,000 vehicles × m/day. Modelled air pollutants and BP were not clearly associated. CONCLUSIONS: In this first comprehensive meta-analysis of European population-based cohorts we observed a weak positive association of high residential traffic exposure with BP in non-medicated participants, and an elevated OR for prevalent hypertension. The relationship of modelled air pollutants with BP was inconsistent.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Health Sciences -- Occupational Health and Environmental Health (hsv//eng)
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Hälsovetenskaper -- Arbetsmedicin och miljömedicin (hsv//swe)
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Hälsovetenskaper (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Health Sciences (hsv//eng)