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Byline: Karen Koch
ECOLOGY Take a leaf from nature's book Choose your neighbourhood wisely, and check your city's air pollution levels to safeguard your heart health, writes GLOBAL warming has become the hottest topic in medical circles since the discovery that smoking causes lung cancer. Prof Anthony Costello, research scientist with University College London's Institute for Global Health calls global warming & the biggest public health threat of the 21st century, eclipsing infectious diseases, water shortages and poverty& Costello made the comment in a review of research he and colleagues were commissioned to for the British medical journal, The Lancet, recently. To those who dismiss global warming as a concern mostly for tree huggers and hippes, he warns that it affects billions, and is & not just an environmental issue about polar bears and deforestation& While global warming will lead to changing patterns of disease such as malaria and bilharzia, famine, floods and heat waves, the experts point out that air pollution itself is a contributory factor, one that is proving to have a potentially serious impact on health.
In particular, it increases risk of heart attack, stroke and respiratory disease. So while famine may not seem like an imminent threat, take a deep breath and look around you. Reports dating back 20 years have shown an increased mortality directly proportional to the degree of air …