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Clean Air Research


1. Is air pollution related to obesity?

Research published by Duke University and EPA has found an association between diesel exhaust exposure in pregnant mice and the likelihood that the offspring will be obese in adulthood.

Researchers also found indications of inflammation in the brains of the fetuses exposed to diesel exhaust. This neuroinflammation in mice may lead to increased susceptibility to diet-induced weight gain in a sex specific manner.

Journal article:
Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure Induces Neuroinflammation and Predisposes Offspring to Weight Gain in Adulthood in a Sex-Specific Manner. Published online in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

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2. What is the link between air pollution and stroke?

The Clean Air Research Center at Harvard University, funded by EPA, has recently linked exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to increased risk of stroke within hours of exposure. Looking at medical records of Boston area patients hospitalized with stroke, scientists measured the level of exposure to PM2.5 in the hours and days before each patient developed symptoms. Results of the study suggest that levels of PM2.5 generally considered to be safe may increase the risk of stroke within hours of exposure.

Journal article:
Ambient Air Pollution and the Risk of Acute Ischemic Stroke. Published February 13, 2012 in Archives of Internal MedicineExit EPA Disclaimer

3. Does fish oil protect the heart from air pollution?

EPA scientists have conducted the first clinical human exposure study to investigate the potential protective effects of diets rich in fish oil from cardiovascular dysfunction induced by air pollution. In studying 29 healthy subjects, researchers found that taking fish oil can protect the heart from particulate matter (PM) induced adverse health effects, including altered heart rate variability and blood lipid profiles.

Journal article:
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Appears to Attenuate Particulate Air Pollution Induced Cardiac Effects and Lipid Changes in Healthy Middle-Aged Adults. Published online before print April 19, 2012 in Environmental Health Perspectives. Exit EPA Disclaimer

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