Billions of particles in polluted air pollute the hearts of city dwellers


Effects of air pollution on the human heart

The ever increasing air pollution causes health problems and diseases. The effects seem to be particularly negative in our cities. Researchers have now discovered that the hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollutants.

The recent study by Lancaster University found that the hearts of young people in cities contain billions of harmful air pollutants. The results of the study were published in the newspaper in English "Environmental research"Posted.

The man touches his heart
The increase in air pollution damages the health of our hearts. (Image: freshidea /

Connection between polluted air and heart disease

Even the youngest participant in the study, at the age of three, was able to detect damage in heart cells due to the presence of tiny particles of air pollution. Researchers believe that these particles emitted by vehicles and industry could be responsible for the long-established statistical link between polluted air and heart disease. The authors report that exposure to nanoparticles could pose a serious public health problem and urgently reduce air pollution.

All ages are interested

As early as 2016, researchers discovered that the same nanoparticles were present in the human brain and could be associated with Alzheimer's-type damage. Even with this disease, the statistical link with air pollution was already known. All age groups are affected by the negative effects of air pollution, but in particular the effects on children are worrying, the authors explain. Evidence of early-onset heart and brain damage has been found in young people.

Air pollution can lead to diabetes and miscarriage

A recent comprehensive report concluded that air pollution can damage any organ and virtually any cell in the human body when small particles are inhaled, released into the bloodstream and transported through the body. The damage caused can vary from diabetes, to limited intelligence, to major abortions. New research is the first direct evidence that iron-rich nanoparticles can cause heart disease. Laboratory tests have already shown that tiny particles seriously damage human cells. When an abundance of iron-rich nanoparticles penetrates directly into the subcellular constituents of myocardial tissue, the particles damage the so-called mitochondria – the power stations of cells.

Air pollution must be reduced

Further efforts are needed to reduce vehicle particulate emissions, in particular to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. For example, people should be encouraged to travel short distances on foot or by bicycle.

Heart tissue from 63 young people was examined

The study analyzed the cardiac tissue of 63 young people who died in road accidents but who had no breast trauma. These people had an average age of 25 and came from Mexico City, where it is known that high levels of air pollution exist. The study calculated the number of iron-rich nanoparticles present and analyzed their position within the tissue and its damage. The number of particles found was between 2 and 22 billion grams of dried tissue and their presence was two to ten times higher among Mexico City residents compared to nine controls that had lived in less polluted places.

The particles probably contain other toxic compounds

The researchers reported that exposure to nanoparticles appears to be directly associated with early and significant heart damage. The results are relevant for all countries because there are absolutely no reasons to believe that the impact would be different in other high-pollution cities, the authors add. The technique used to locate nanoparticles in cardiac tissue cannot be used to measure their exact composition. Instead, the researchers separated the particles from the tissue to determine their composition and magnetic content, so they used the average size and magnetism of the particles to estimate the total number. Based on previous research, the particles are expected to contain additional toxic contaminants. (As)


  • Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, Angélica González-Maciel, Partha S.Mukherjee, Rafael Reynoso-Robles, BeatrizPérez-Guilléc et al .: Magnetic pollution nanoparticles derived from combustion and friction in human hearts, in environmental research (question: 13.07.2019) Environmental research

. (TagsToTranslate) the atmospheric pollution (t) nanoparticles (t) of iron (t) Heart (t) of the brain


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