We know that the tiny particles in air pollution can clog our arteries, leading to heart attacks, but now researchers have found a connection between diesel emissions and cancer. We need to start running our trucks on biofuel!
Diesel exhaust exposure levels in the study were designed to mimic the exposure people might experience while living in urban areas and commuting in heavy traffic. The connection lies in the ability of diesel exhaust to induce the growth of new blood vessels that serve as a food supply for solid tumors. These blood vessels sprouted in mice exposed to diesel exhaust than did in mice exposed to clean, filtered air. Some of the mice were sick, but others were healthy, suggesting that cancer may perhaps be CAUSED by diesel exhaust.
The tiny size of inhaled diesel particles, less than 0.1 microns, enables them to penetrate the human circulatory system, organs and tissues, meaning they can do damage just about anywhere in the body.
Researcher Qinghua Sun says, "The message from our study is that exposure to diesel exhaust for just a short time period of two months could give even normal tissue the potential to develop a tumor. We need to raise public awareness so people give more thought to how they drive and how they live so they can pursue ways to protect themselves and improve their health. And we still have a lot of work to do to improve diesel engines so they generate fewer particles and exhaust that can be released into the ambient air."
There are no highways with big, pollution-spouting trucks, near the delightful, AFFORDABLE resort we've chosen for our Stargate Conference in October: Just sunny days and clear starry nights. Who knows what (or who) we'll see?
Art credit: Dreamstime.com
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