Toxic metallic air pollutants from industry and vehicle emissions are causing a ‘silent heart disease epidemic,’ according to a new research paper published in the journal Environmental Research.
Using state-of-the-art electron microscopy, researchers at the Universities of Lancaster, Montana and Mexico have found that air pollutants are entering inside the mitochondria of the heart tissue and are causing cardiac stress.
In the report, the researchers have said that repeated inhalation of these metallic nanoparticles may account for the well-established association between exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) and increased cardiovascular disease.
The researchers have also suggested that exposure to these particles may account for some of the increased death rates from Covid-19 seen in areas with high levels of particulate pollution.
They have also raised concerns about what might happen when people with millions of these magnetic nanoparticles in their hearts use appliances with associated magnetic fields, such as hairdryers and mobile phones.
Professor Maher from the University of Lancaster said: ‘Itâ€™s been known for a long time that people with high exposure to particulate air pollution experience increased levels and severity of heart disease.
‘Our new work shows that iron-rich nanoparticles from air pollution can get right inside the millions of mitochondria inside our heartsâ€¦the structures which generate the energy needed for oFF==ur hearts to pump properly.
‘We found these metal particles inside the heart of even a three-year-old, this indicates that weâ€™re setting heart disease in train right from the earliest days, but only seeing its full, clinical effects in later life.
‘Itâ€™s really urgent to reduce emissions of ultrafine particles from our vehicles and from the industry before we give heart disease to the next generation too.’
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