The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed. The Guardian: Even in the study’s youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ’s critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease. The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world’s population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global “public health emergency.”
The scientists acknowledged some uncertainties in their research, but Prof Barbara Maher, of Lancaster University, said: “This is a preliminary study in a way, but the findings and implications were too important not to get the information out there.” Maher and colleagues found in 2016 that the same nanoparticles were present in human brains and were associated with Alzheimers-like damage, another disease linked to air pollution. While all ages were affected, Maher said she was particularly concerned about children.