Common Problem May Dull Your Mental Edge
Most of us living here in South Florida share a morning ritual. We check the traffic before leaving the house. If you don’t, you may get stuck in a construction zone.
All this road construction comes from the state catching up to explosive growth. And that growth has meant thousands of heavy diesel trucks and graders operating day and night. And there are a lot more diesel trucks on our roads delivering the goods a growing population demands.
All those diesel engines mean Floridians – along with people across the country – are breathing in more and more “particulate pollution.”
When you think of air pollution, you may think of greenhouse gasses or ozone. But microscopic particles – from diesels and other sources – are a serious threat to your health, too. And since you probably spend more time outside in the summer, you should be aware of their effects.
What brought this to mind was a brand-new study. It shows that tiny particles in the air may affect you in ways you’d never imagine. Because this kind of pollution does a lot more than damage your lungs.
Airborne particles can have a terrible impact on your heart. According to researchers in California, they can…
- Affect your heart rate
- Speed up hardening of the arteries
- Change your blood’s clotting ability
- Increase your blood pressure
Microscopic pollutants can even get into your blood stream. When they do, they can get into your heart and lower your blood flow.1 but we already knew this.
The surprise comes from a new study that suggests these pollutants may affect your brain, too.
Researchers took two groups of mice. One group breathed pure filtered air. The second group was exposed to air with typical particle pollutants. These tiny particles were just 2.5 micrometers in size – 40 times thinner than a human hair.
The mice exposed to the pollution developed learning problems and memory trouble. They also displayed the rodent equivalent of the blues. The mice breathing filtered air didn’t show any problems.2
So these particles my not only wreck your lungs and heart… this study suggests they may take a toll on your brain, too.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to cut your exposure.
- Avoid exercising – or spending time outdoors – near busy intersection and roads.
- Plan exercise, yard work and other outdoor activities during slow traffic periods.
- If you have to spend time outside when pollution levels are high, wear a facemask. A 2009 study in Beijing found they’re very effective.3
Finally, do what we do here in South Florida. Always check the traffic report before you go out.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Simkhovich, B.Z., et al. “Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Injury: Epidemiology, Toxicology, and Mechanisms,” J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008; 52:719-726.
2 Fonken, L.K., et al, “Air pollution impairs cognition, provokes depressive-like behaviors and alters hippocampal cytokine expression and morphology,” Molecular Psychiatry. July 5, 2011. [Published online before print]
3 Langrish, J.P., et al, “Beneficial cardiovascular effects of reducing exposure to particulate air pollution with a simple facemask,” Part Fibre Toxicol. 2009; 6: 8.