Researchers reviewed the mechanisms responsible for vascular damage from air pollution together with scientists from the UK and the USA. Air pollution and fine dust, in particular, is responsible for more than four million deaths each year. Almost 60% of deaths occur as a result of cardiovascular diseases. The study was published in the latest issue of the European Heart Journal.

Negative Effects Of Air Pollution

The large percentage of deaths from cardiovascular disease has prompted an international group of experts from Germany, England, and the USA to analyze them , in particular, effects of air pollution on vascular function in a review article. 

Air Pollution

Key research questions focused on components of air pollution (particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide) that are particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system and mechanisms that damage the vessels.

This report is another important contribution from our Working Group on Environment and Cardiovascular Diseases. In summary, it can be said that about the vascular damaging effect of air pollution, particulate matter plays a prominent role.

Ultrafine Dust

They are especially worried about ultrafine dust. These particles have the size of a virus. When ultrafine matter is inhaled, it immediately enters the bloodstream through the lungs, is taken up by the vessels, and causes local inflammation.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Ultimately, this causes more atherosclerosis (vascular calcification) and thus leads to more cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias

Of particular interest is the fact that about diesel exhaust emissions, particulate matter and not nitrogen dioxide (NO2), both of which are produced by burning diesel fuel, have a negative effect on vascular function.

The fine dust particles are chemically formed mainly in the atmosphere from emissions from traffic, industry, and agriculture. To achieve low, harmless concentrations, emissions from all these sources need to be reduced.

Causes Of Cardiovascular Disease

In the future, we will work intensively with the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry to investigate the causes of cardiovascular disease caused by air pollution, especially in combination with (flight) noise.