A team of researchers speaking as this year's EuroPRevent congress in Rome have described the effect that fine particle pollution has on people.
Thus, the scientists drew attention to the fact that long-term exposure to this type of air pollution ups an individual's risk of developing a heart disease at some point in their lives.
The study focused on fine particle matter air pollution and its being one of the reasons why people who live close to intense traffic for considerable periods are more likely to suffer with atherosclerosis.
This was not the first time when road traffic was argued to be detrimental to public health.
Thus, it was back in 2010 when one research carried out by scientists in Denmark showed how the noise pollution caused by traffic made people more prone to suffering a heart attack.
Wishing to determine whether noise, particle pollution or both were the ones causing people living close to road traffic to have an increased risk of heart disease, Dr. Hagen Kälsch of the West-German Heart Center in Essen, Germany, and his colleagues looked into the medical records of 4238 people whose average age was 60.
The researchers collected data concerning these people's proximity to high traffic volume, their long-term exposure to fine particle matter and their level of atherosclerosis, EurekAlert informs us.
These investigations led them to the conclusion that proximity to heavy-traffic roads ups calcium level around the heart. This in turn translates into a higher risk of developing a condition known as aortic calcification.
Apparently, living at a distance of 100 meters (about 300 feet) from heavy traffic ups heart disease risk by as much as 10%.
The researchers have also discovered that fine particle matter and noise pollution affect a person in fairly similar ways, meaning that they cause imbalances in the nervous system.
“These two major types of traffic emissions help explain the observed associations between living close to high traffic and subclinical atherosclerosis.”
“The considerable size of the associations underscores the importance of long-term exposure to air pollution and road traffic noise as risk factors for atherosclerosis,” Dr. Hagen Kälsch said.