Study: ultrafine particles in diesel fumes can cause heart attacks

When we think of dangerous auto emissions, we tend to think first of greenhouse-causing gases or the components of the smoggy haze that hovers over cities. However, another component of the smoke pouring from some tailpipes may be even more dangerous. Research published in European Heart Journal tested the effects of diesel fumes on healthy volunteers. The results? Not good:

Tiny chemical particles emitted by diesel fumes could raise the risk of heart attacks, research has shown. Scientists have found that ultrafine particles produced when diesel burns are harmful to blood vessels and can increase the chances of blood clots forming in arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

The levels of fumes used in the study were meant to match those of some of the world's most heavily polluted cities, and it's not clear how these results would scale to smaller doses of diesel. It's also unclear just what components of diesel fumes are really to blame for these results, though the study suggests that nanoparticles within the fumes are more to blame than gases.

If results of this study hold up, don't be surprised to see movement toward even cleaner burning diesel fuels or devices on oil burning engines that lock up tiny particles before they reach human lungs.

[Source: Science Daily]

Share This Photo X