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Air polluted by fuel combustion alters blood vessels in the lungs

Breathing in the small carbon particles produced by combustion, particularly that of fossil fuel fuels, can lead to a significant increase in peripheral blood vessels. This is shown by research published in the European Respiratory Journal, which points out, if there is still a need, how serious can be the air pollution produced by the combustion of fossil fuels.

The study, according to the researchers, clearly shows that exposure to pollutants such as that caused by the combustion of diesel can, even at doses considered as low, lead to subtle changes in the lungs which can then lead to chronic lung disease.

According to the researchers, people exposed to higher levels of black carbon, a component of particulate matter formed by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, saw effects comparable to those associated with smoking a packet of cigarettes a day for 15 years.

To arrive at the results, researchers analyzed data from 3000 people in six different U.S. metropolitan areas. In particular, they also used data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitoring database, as well as traffic data, weather models and land use data.

By analyzing the participants’ pulmonary blood vessels, taking into account various other personal factors, the researchers estimated that they had been exposed to annual levels of black carbon at 0.8 micrograms per cubic meter and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at 11 micrograms per cubic meter.

These limits are lower than those set by the institutions in the United States and the European Union but despite this analysis showed that they are associated with a greater volume of blood vessels in the lungs.