Indoor air pollution is associated with cardiovascular effects, however, little is known about the effects of improving indoor air quality on cardiovascular health. The aim of this study was to explore whether improving indoor air quality through air conditioning can improve cardiovascular health in human subjects. We recruited a panel of 300 healthy subjects from Taipei, aged 20 and over, to participate in six home visits each, to measure a variety of cardiovascular endpoints, including high sensitivity-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), fibrinogen in plasma and heart rate variability (HRV). Indoor particles and total volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured simultaneously at the participant's home during each visit. Three exposure conditions were investigated in this study: participants were requested to keep their windows open during the first two visits, close their windows during the next two visits, and close the windows and turn on their air conditioners during the last two visits. We used linear mixed-effects models to associate the cardiovascular endpoints with individual indoor air pollutants. The results showed that increases in hs-CRP, 8-OHdG and fibrinogen, and decreases in HRV indices were associated with increased levels of indoor particles and total VOCs in single-pollutant and two-pollutant models. The effects of indoor particles and total VOCs on cardiovascular endpoints were greatest during visits with the windows open. During visits with the air conditioners turned on, no significant changes in cardiovascular endpoints were observed. In conclusion, indoor air pollution is associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, blood coagulation and autonomic dysfunction. Reductions in indoor air pollution and subsequent improvements in cardiovascular health can be achieved by closing windows and turning on air conditioners at home.
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