ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s well known that measures such as exercise, a healthy diet and not smoking can help reduce high blood pressure, but researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have determined the very air we breathe can be an invisible catalyst to heart disease. Inhaling air pollution over just two hours caused a significant increase in diastolic blood pressure, the lower number on blood pressure readings, according to new U-M research.
People placed in air similar to that near an urban roadway experienced higher blood pressure. This is, parenthetically, an argument against doing long commutes in urban environments. The air you breathe in your car is bad for your health.
Eighty-three people in Ann Arbor and Toronto were involved in testing and breathed air pollution, concentrated by a mobile air quality research facility, that was similar to what would be found in an urban environment near a roadway.
“We looked at their blood vessels and then their responses before and after breathing high levels of air pollution,” explains Robert Bard, M.S., co-author and clinical research manager at U-M.
Ozone gases, a well-known component of air pollution, were not the biggest culprit. Rather, small microscopic particles about a 10th of the diameter of a human hair caused the rise in blood pressure and impaired blood vessel function, tests showed. The blood pressure increase was rapid and occurred within 2 hours, while the impairment in blood vessel function occurred later but lasted as long as 24 hours.
I'd like to know more about indoor air pollution and background air pollution for those who do not necessarily live near a highway. Would a home HEPA filter deliver real health benefits for most people? If you live in a city or near a busy street or freeway the argument for filtering one's air is more compelling.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 September 15 09:28 PM Health Pollution Harm|