"Murder mystery" -- Thousands of people dying within 24 hours of spike in microscopic pollution in cities

From Northwestern University NewsCenter:

"It was a murder mystery playing out in major cities across the country and perplexing scientists. Thousands of people were dying from strokes and heart attacks within 24 hours of a spike in microscopic pollution -- tiny particles that spew from the exhaust of diesel trucks, buses and coal-burning factories.

Northwestern researchers have discovered that this microscopic air pollution spurs hyperclotting of the blood. The study found that lungs inflamed by the pollution secrete a substance, interleukin-6, which causes an increased tendency for blood to coagulate or clot.

In the study in mice, researchers observed a 15-fold increase in interleukin-6 24 hours after the mice were exposed to the pollution. In people, interleukin-6 also raises the levels of a substance called CRP, which is correlated with death from cardiovascular disease.

Among the metropolitan areas, Los Angeles has the most year-round particle pollution. Chicago ranks 11; New York, 17 and Washington D.C., 20.

The level of particulate matter in the air in Chicago is 20 micrograms/m3. The level of particulate matter in Beijing is 260 micrograms/m3 — 13 times as much as Chicago.

The risk of dying from a heart attack or ischemic stroke jumps a whopping 30 percent with each additional 10 micrograms of pollution."

Microscopic Pollution May Trigger Heart Attacks/Strokes by Spurring Blood Clots. Northwestern University NewsCenter.
Air Pollution May Hurt the Heart. WebMD.
Image source: Air pollution, Wikipedia, public domain.

Updated: 08/14/2008

1 comment:

  1. This is all so scary. What ever happened to "Lets go out for some fresh air"