News Stories

Fat Pollution

Can pollution make you gain weight? It works that way with animals. New research shows that exposure to polluted air early in life led to an accumulation of abdominal fat and insulin resistance in mice even if they ate a normal diet. Animals exposed to the fine-particulate air pollution had larger and more fat cells in their abdominal area and higher blood sugar levels than did animals eating the same diet but breathing clean air.

Researcher Qinghua Sun says, "This is one of the first, if not the first, study to show that these fine particulates directly cause inflammation and changes in fat cells, both of which increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes." According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, roughly one out of every three people in the United States is at a higher risk of experiencing health effects related to the presence of polluted air. Because of their tiny size--2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter, or about 1/30th of the average width of a human hair--these particles could reach deep areas of the lungs and other organs in the body and often cause heart attacks.

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