Thursday, August 16, 2007

Air pollution, heart disease, and anger


I saw this story the other day, and I can't say the result of the study is surprising. It's sad in that industry doesn’t seem to care enough to want to do anything about it, which is also not surprising.

I have long felt that even the smallest, "don't worry it isn't enough to hurt you" amount of toxicity and pollution has severe and long-lasting effects on people.

The story below discusses heart disease, but I think there is also a link between pollution and anger. People seem to be more and more angry, easier to anger, and their feelings of anger last longer.

I believe that the cause of anger can have more to do with the stress of environmental pollutants that the stress of an overwhelming lifestyle.

In Chinese medicine, the liver is the organ connected to the emotion of anger. I very sincerely believe that when the pollution entering through the lungs ends up in the bloodstream, and the liver has to filter all these chemical pollutants and toxins, the liver becomes over-stressed. (It also becomes very stressed by having to filter all the food additives and medications that people take, but that is for a different time and article.)

Even though accumulating these toxins together in one organ – the liver – causes stress to that organ, it may not show up on medical tests as "disease." However, I can assure you, there is a great deal of dis-ease in a liver that is constantly called upon to filter from the blood the overwhelming pollutants that enter the bloodstream through the air and lungs.

I wonder if we would see fewer incidents of road rage, school shootings, and other senseless acts of anger and violence if we cleaned up our act and cleaned up our air.

Another thing I would like to mention is a word of warning to parents who walk their children in strollers. Please avoid walking along streets busy with traffic. The face of your child in his or her stroller is just about even with the exhaust pipes on most cars and trucks…in effect, your baby's face is right beside the exhaust pipes of every vehicle that drives by.

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Bad air raises heart risks in young adults: study

By Tan Ee Lyn Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:02 AM ET

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Bad air can trigger in young, healthy adults a string of adverse biological changes that are linked to cardiovascular disease, a Taiwan study has shown.

Writing in the second August issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the researchers described how they observed changes in 76 students living on campus at the Fu-Jen Catholic University in Taipei.

"Urban air pollution is a cocktail of pollutants, when you breathe it gets into your body, through the nose, the respiratory tract, then the lungs," said professor Chang-Chuan Chan at National Taiwan University's College of Public Health.

"The different air pollutants observed here can go into your lungs and invoke inflammation effect in days. They can also go directly, without causing inflammation and affect cardiovascular function, like heart rate variability," Chan said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

Chan's team took blood samples from the students, aged between 18 and 25, and monitored their hearts via electrocardiogram (ECG) three times between April 2004 and June 2005.

They then checked to see if there were changes to four indicators that are normally linked to heart disease.

The four are inflammation, oxidative stress or damage to tissues and cells, coagulation in blood vessels and autonomic dysfunction or disruption of unconscious bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature regulation.

"After exposure of between one and three days, we can see these kinds of biological responses in young adults," Chan said.

"They hardly can feel the effects, but there are these changes. If your blood is drawn and your heart rate variability is monitored, then definitely there are some changes."

The results of this study are consistent with previous studies, but this is the first time scientists have established a correlation between all four indices and air pollution.

Chan stressed Taipei's air was no different from that in many other cities. The type and amount of air pollutants observed, like suspended particulates of 2.5 and 10 micrometers, nitrate, sulfate and ozone are consistent with those seen elsewhere.

"Even though we use Taipei in this study, these pollutants are commonly experienced by people living in cities ... in China, the amount of their particulates are even higher," he said.

Although such damaging changes were reversible if periods of air pollution were brief, consequences could be dire if exposure to bad air was prolonged.

"If the dirty air stays longer, say for months, or years, then there could be chronic exposure effect," Chan said.

"We're worried for people who already have heart disease and air pollution becomes too serious, then this will be a tipping point, leading to adverse effects, including death."

See original story at:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070815/hl_nm/pollution_health_taiwan_dc

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSHKG15456720070815?sp=true

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2 comments:

Whole House Dehumidifier said...

It won't be long until we see our average life expectancy shortening due to bad air from all our pollutants.

Michelle said...

I suspect you are right. The U. S. used to be ranked 11th in the life expectancy of its citizens; we are now ranked 42nd. We are losing ground rapidly. That's a pretty sad state of affairs for the richest country in the world. :-(