Diesel Pollutant May Cause Long Term Health Effects esp. at Lung, Heart and Bone Marrow

Diesel Pollutant May Cause Long Term Health Effects esp. at Lung, Heart and Bone

The increase in relative risk for heart disease due to air pollution for an individual is small compared with the impact of the established cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. However, this is a serious public health problem due to the enormous number of people affected and because exposure to air pollution occurs over an entire lifetime.The largest portion of this increased mortality rate was accounted for by ischemic heart diseases (e.g., coronary attacks), however other causes were also increased, such as heart failure and fatal arrhythmias.


Ground-level ozone is the major part of air pollution in most cities. Ground-level ozone is created when engine and fuel gases already released into the air interact when sunlight hits them. Ozone levels increase in cities when the air is still, the sun is bright and the temperature is warm. Ground-level ozone should not be confused with the "good" ozone that is miles up in the atmosphere and that protects us from the sun's harmful radiation.

Diesel exhaust contains a number of potential and proved carcinogens and contributes to the human lung cancer burden. A recently highlighted new class of potent mutagenic compounds found in diesel exhaust and airborne particles (nitrobenzanthrones) is likely to be among key factors. Evidence is also increasing for a link between childhood cancer and motor vehicle exhaust, possibly due to benzene exposure.

According to the latest estimates provided by the WHO , about 80,000 deaths a year in Europe can be attributed to long term exposure to road traffic air pollution. Research suggests that apart from professional drivers and road workers the elderly and the very young are most at risk of adverse health impacts.Health effects vary from a mild inflammatory response to bronchitis and bronchial pneumonia. NO2 is linked with increased susceptibility to respiratory infection, increased airway resistance in asthmatics and decreased lung function.

Light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization. Its sources include building exterior and interior lighting, advertising, commercial properties, offices, factories, streetlights, and illuminated sporting venues. It is most severe in highly industrialized, densely populated areas of North America, Europe, and Japan, but even relatively small amounts of light can be noticed and create problems.Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution is a factor in reducing overall life expectancy by a few years.Short-term exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution is associated with the increased risk of death due to a cardiovascular event.

It is unlikely that clinically significant deficits in lung function at the age of 18 years will be reversed in either girls or boys as they complete the transition into adulthood. Deficits in lung function during young adulthood may increase the risk of respiratory conditions — for example, episodic wheezing that occurs during a viral infection.However, the greatest effect of pollution-related deficits may occur later in life, since reduced lung function is a strong risk factor for complications and death during adulthood.

Environmental pollutants such as diesel exhaust, ozone and nitrogen dioxide are leading causes of chronic coughing in both children and adults.In a study, researchers found that exposure to diesel exhaust for one hour during exercise caused a significant decrease in blood vessels’ natural ability to expand (dilate). Exposure to air pollution also decreased levels of an enzyme that helps prevent clots from forming.Primary target organ is the lungs.

Ozone exposure produces cellular and structural changes, causing a decrease in the lung’s ability to perform normal functions.The main ingredient of smog is ozone. Many persons exposed to smog suffer eye irritation, coughs and chest discomfort, headaches, upper respiratory illness and increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks.– In Los Angeles, air pollution from ozone and particulate matter affects 13 million residents up to 17 days per year.

Air pollution contributes to death and illness involving the heart and blood vessels. Short-term exposure to air pollution can worsen existing problems and lead to hospitalization for heart attack and other heart and lung conditions. Long-term repeated exposure increases the risk of death from coronary heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure.

Diesel exhaust particles contain a chemical component called phenanthraquinone (PQ) that can harm the ability of arteries to regulate blood flow to bone marrow, a U.S. study finds.That can have a number of long-term health effects, the researchers add.

Men, postmenopausal women, and elderly people are most likely to be affected, said a team at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular Sciences at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, in Morgantown.

The researchers conducted tests with rats. They found that exposure to PQ reduced by about 65 percent the ability of arteries to regulate blood flow to bone marrow in six- month-old male rats. PQ had a similar effect in older male and female rats and in young female rats whose ovaries had been removed.

Because young female rats with intact ovaries were not affected, it appears that estrogen may provide protective effects against PQ, the researchers said.The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Physiological Society, in Washington, D.C.

Previous research has found that PQ impaired the ability of larger blood vessels to relax and that exposure to particle pollution may worsen cardiovascular diseases in certain people.

Data suggested that in southern California, the primary source of these pollutants is motor vehicles, either through direct tailpipe emissions or downwind physical and photochemical reactions of vehicular emissions. Both gasoline- and diesel-powered engines contribute to the tons of pollutants exhausted into southern California's air every day, with diesel vehicles responsible for disproportionate amounts of nitrogen dioxide, PM2., and elemental carbon.

Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as uranium, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, chloromethyl ethers, gasoline, and diesel exhaust may increase one's risk of lung cancer.

Another study cited that children with mild-to-moderate asthma have a 1.20 increased odds of severe asthma attacks when particulate matter of 2.5 microns in diameter is increased by 10 g/m3. The same children have a 1.10 increased odds of having a severe asthma attack when larger particulate matter (diameter of 10 microns) is increased by the same amount. These results are statistically significant.Severe asthma attacks were defined as those lasting more than two hours, resulting in shortened normal activity, or requiring acute care by a physician.

Ecuadoran villagers believe high rates of disease are tied to petroleum pollution, a contention that Chevron disputes. Plaintiffs' attorneys cite a series of health studies in publications. One found that the rate of leukemia in children there was three times higher than in other parts of Ecuador.The move to unleaded has become necessary because leaded petrol corrodes modern cars with catalytic converters to reduce harmful emissions, and pollution emanating from motor vehicles is, potentially, a dire health hazard.

The long-term effects of air pollution on healthy people aren't known yet. But people who already have blockages in their heart, particularly in their coronary arteries, or in the small blood vessels of the heart, may be at greater immediate risk. A person with heart disease already has narrow, partially blocked vessels. Breathing air pollution and then experiencing an additional narrowing could be too much for the body to handle.

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