Fresh air is good for you… right?
Fine particulates in the air can cause diseases of the respiratory tract and cardiovascular system, but at the moment scientists are unsure as to which specific components of fine particulates are responsible for these harmful effects on human health. In his doctoral research, Maciek Strak has examined which fine particulate components influence the health of the lungs and heart, and has discovered that the origin of the particles and their chemical composition is more important than the mass of the particles inhaled.
For his research, the Doctoral Candidate repeatedly subjected 31 healthy young non-smoker volunteers to five hours of exposure to fine particulates at five different locations: an underground train station, two different high-traffic roads, a livestock farm and an urban environment. He also conducted air pollution measurements at these locations on thirty different days during the period March-October 2009. The volunteers’ cardio-respiratory health was monitored immediately prior to the exposure, as well as immediately after the exposure period, two hours after exposure and the morning after exposure.
Strak discovered that an increase in ultrafine particulates in the gas nitrogen oxide was linked to higher occurrence of respiratory inflammations and suppressed respiratory function. And when the test subjects had inhaled higher concentrations of organic molecules, sulphates and nitrates, their blood appeared to create substances that could indicate a higher risk of future cardio-respiratory diseases. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide, nitrates and sulphates also resulted in increased production of blood clotting factors.
|Date and time:
||University Hall, Domplein 29, Utrecht
||Centre for Teaching and Learning
||The Unusual Suspects: Air Pollution Components and Associated Health Effects
||Prof. Bert Brunekreef
||Prof. Erik Lebert
||Dr. Nicole Jansen
||Dr. Gerard Hoek