Day-long drivers at risk of cardiovascular problems as a result of traffic pollution

December 08, 2004

Exposure to fine particles and pollutants that accumulate in cars driving at varying speeds in road traffic enhances the likelihood of thrombosis, inflammation and alters the regularity of the heart rhythm. A study published today in the journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology raises concerns about cardiovascular risks for vehicle drivers.

Michael Riediker, from The Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in Switzerland, collaborated with colleagues from a number of institutions in North Carolina, USA, to study the direct effects of different sources of motor vehicle-related pollution on patrol officers. State troopers were chosen because they have a heavy exposure due to their day-long driving. The authors analysed the sources of pollutants inside the patrol cars of nine healthy young male patrol officers working on North Carolina highways. On the basis of previous findings, the researchers concentrated on particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size (much smaller than a hair), which can deposit deeply in the lungs. They found that the particles accumulated during driving came from several sources, which could be identified by the presence of certain elements. They found silicon and aluminium from wear of the road surface, while another source was wear and tear of mechanical automotive parts, which produces particles containing iron, chromium and titanium. Gasoline combustion was also identified as a source, given the presence of benzene and the gas carbon monoxide, and driving at varying speeds in traffic raised levels of particles containing copper, sulphur and aldehydes. The heart rate of the troopers was measured during and after their shifts. Blood samples were collected after each shift to monitor inflammation and clotting status.

The results of the study show that pollution from speed-changing traffic had the most significant impact on the markers of cardiovascular health of the subjects. Driving in speed-changing traffic resulted in an increase in inflammatory cells and proteins, an activation of clotting (pro-thrombotic) pathways, an increase in red blood cell volume and a more variable heart rhythm. But the authors stressed that "answering the question, which of these sub-sources was causing the effects, would require a larger number of subjects or targeted toxicological studies".

Extended inhalation of motor vehicle-related air pollution is known to increase daily deaths and hospitalization for cardiovascular diseases in the US and throughout the world - estimates put the death toll at 800,000 per year worldwide. Although their study was small and presents some limitations, the authors conclude that exposure to pollution caused by speed-changing traffic affects cardiovascular risk through effects on the heart rhythm and the blood clotting pathways.
-end-
This press release is based on the following article:

Cardiovascular effects in patrol officers are associated with fine particulate matter from brake wear and engine emissions

Michael Riediker, Robert B. Devlin, Thomas R. Griggs, Margaret C. Herbst, Philip A. Bromberg, Ronald W. Williams, Wayne E. Cascio
Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2004, 1:2 (9 December 2004)

This article is available free of charge, according to Particle and Fibre Toxicology's Open Access policy at: http://www.particleandfibretoxicology.com/content/1/1/2

BioMed Central

Related Inflammation Articles from Brightsurf:

3D printed stents that treat inflammation
POSTECH Professor Dong-Woo Cho's research team develops bioink-loaded esophageal stents for treating radiation esophagitis.

New cause of inflammation in people with HIV identified
A new study led by researchers at Boston Medical Center examined what factors could be contributing to this inflammation, and they identified the inability to control HIV RNA production from existing HIV DNA as a potential key driver of inflammation.

Maltreatment tied to higher inflammation in girls
New research by a University of Georgia scientist reveals that girls who are maltreated show higher levels of inflammation at an early age than boys who are maltreated or children who have not experienced abuse.

A protein that controls inflammation
A study by the research team of Prof. Geert van Loo (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) has unraveled a critical molecular mechanism behind autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis.

Inflammation in the brain linked to several forms of dementia
Inflammation in the brain may be more widely implicated in dementias than was previously thought, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge.

Social isolation could cause physical inflammation
Social isolation could be associated with increased inflammation in the body new research from the University of Surrey and Brunel University London has found.

Hydrogels control inflammation to help healing
Researchers test a sampling of synthetic, biocompatible hydrogels to see how tuning them influences the body's inflammatory response.

Why beta-blockers cause skin inflammation
Beta-blockers are often used to treat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.

The 'inflammation' of opioid use
New research correlates inflammation in the brain and gut to negative emotional state during opioid withdrawal.

Using a common anticonvulsant to counteract inflammation
The interaction between a chromosomal protein called HMGB1 and a cellular receptor called RAGE is known to trigger inflammation.

Read More: Inflammation News and Inflammation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.