Traffic pollution raises risk of heart disease
So it appears that air pollution can damage to more than your lungs**.** According to new research from the West-German Heart Center in Essen, Germany, people who are exposed to fine particle matter air pollution – a specific type of pollution associated with traffic – for a prolonged period of time are at an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis.
The study included a total of 4,814 participants, and the researchers used data from the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study to calculate who lived closest to areas with high traffic, exposure to pollutants and how much noise was produced by traffic in their respective areas. The test concluded that increased proximity to major roads was associated with an increased level of aortic calcification, a condition which narrows the opening of the aortic valve, reducing blood flow and can be an early indicator of heart disease. The degree of calcification increased by 20.7 percent as particle volume increased by 2.4 micrometers, and increased by 10 percent for every 100 meters a person was closer to heavy traffic.
All air pollutants were associated with increased risk of heart attack, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter.