Graphic: Adapted from the NRDC Infographic: How Diesel Exhaust Hurts Your Health
In the American urban environment, diesel exhaust is a primary contributor to PM, and often the most potent, with as many as 30 toxins on each particle. Studies by researchers throughout the world have linked exposure to particulate matter (PM) and other components of diesel exhaust to cardiovascular disease.
Two recent studies have greatly improved our knowledge exactly how PM, NO2, and other components of air pollution harm your cardiovascular system, and how dangerous it is:
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a decade-long study of 6,000 Americans, just published in The Lancet, is ground-breaking and concerning:
Dr. Robert Brook, a cardiologist with the University of Michigan Health System, said the findings of the new study “would be hard to overstate.” They mean that air pollution is not just a trigger of heart attacks or strokes over a few days in high-risk or sick people who would have had such episodes anyway, but it’s also a cause of harm over years…But the new evidence also shows that there’s no safe level of pollution, no exposure that doesn’t increase heart disease risk, he added. (Seattle Times)
A meta-analysis of 17 studies just published in the journal Hypertension shows that air pollution raises blood pressure, which can lead to strokes, and that even short-term exposure can be very dangerous.
People should limit their exposure on days with higher air pollution levels, especially for those with high blood pressure,” said epidemiologist Tao Liu, Ph.D., lead author of the study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. “Even very short-term exposure can aggravate their conditions.” (American Heart Association)
For more information, see the news or research articles below: