These "PM2.5 particles" are known to produce respiratory and cardiovascular illness.
"PM2.5 particles are air pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less,
small enough to invade even the smallest airways. These particles generally come
from activities that burn fossil fuels, such as traffic, smelting, and metal
PM2.5 particles were measured in micrograms per cubic meter. For every 10 micrograms per cubic meter increase of PM2.5, CIMT increased by 5.9 percent. After adjusting for various factors, including smoking, the researchers found that CIMT increased by 3.9 to 4.3 percent for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter increase in PM2.5. There were greater increases in people over 60, women, and people taking cholesterol-lowering medication. The greatest increases were seen in women 60 or older: a 15.7 percent rise in CIMT for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
The changes observed were similar to those that occur in people living with smokers, Kuenzli said.
According to Kuenzli, air pollution can cause inflammatory responses both in the body's respiratory tract and in the blood vessels. In the case of the circulatory system, this can eventually lead to thickening of the artery wall and its attendant problems.
Rabbit studies had shown that exposure to airborne particles produced all the signs of atherosclerosis, while human studies have shown that inhaling these particles resulted in systemic inflammation. "We think it's plausible," Kuenzli said."