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Rise in the number of people hospitalized for a stroke in Ireland. Studies by RCSI has found it to be due to air pollution

Researchers have found that the level of air pollution in Dublin in the winter has been linked to an increase in the number of people hospitalized for a stroke.

The Irish-led study was published in a journal called Cerebrovascular Diseases, by researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Ireland.

During the winter season, high levels of particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are found in the air. Experts say that this is due to solid fuel combustion and road traffic and the associated risk of stroke is 3.5% higher. 

The increased amount of dust particles in the air linked to a higher risk of 3.2% and finer particles with a higher risk of 2.4 per cent.

The study found that the number of stroke hospitalizations in Dublin increased dramatically from zero to two days after an increase in air pollution, temperature, humidity, day of the week and time.

According to the Irish Heart Foundation charity, approximately 10,000 people each year have a stroke in Ireland.  

No significant association was found for all air pollutants in the smaller urban area of Cork, but meta-analysis showed a significant connection between stroke hospitalizations and higher rates of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles in the air.

“Our research adds evidence that there needs to be a national ban on solid fuel burning to help in our efforts to reduce this number,” said Dr Colm Byrne, the study’s lead author and clinical lecturer in the RCSI Department of Geriatric and Stroke Medicine.

Eamon Ryan, Climate Minister, announced last month that the ban on smoky coal in Ireland would be extended to all cities with populations of more than 10,000 as of 1 September. This measure will reduce air pollution and promote public health, he said.

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