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article imageOp-Ed: Traffic fumes increase risk of blood clots: study

By Paul Wallis     May 13, 2008 in Environment
If you thought all those traffic fumes were making you sick, they are. Studies have shown that Deep Vein Thrombosis is one of the results of exposure. One of the problems is the creation of blood clots.
This is fundamental chemistry, and it’s raising the bar for air quality. Traffic fumes aren't exactly uncommon, and realistically, effectively regulation has to start literally at the engine level.
Fumes are generally micro particulates, and micro particulates are dangerous.
The BBC:
Exposure to small particulates - tiny chemicals caused by burning fossil fuels - is known to increase the chances of heart disease and stroke.
But the Harvard School of Public Health found it also affected development of deep vein thrombosis - blood clots in the legs - in a study of 2,000 people.
Researchers said the pollution made the blood more sticky and likely to clot.
The team looked at people living in Italy - nearly 900 of whom developed DVT.
Of 2000 people, 900 is beyond the level of coincidence. It's effectively an each way bet.
Micro-particulates have been shown in international studies to have a nasty habit of simply using their size to penetrate tissues and take their chemistry with them. Carbon micro particulates in particular are chemically very active, and they’re also dangerous.
They’re also easy to keep airborne. Their relationship to gravity, like most micron-sized things, is different. They can remain airborne, and therefore dangerous, for years.
Score another point for the fossilized brains of the fossil fuels industry, and pseudo-economists who haven't got the guts to tell the world's big economies that the petroleum era is over. It costs a fortune, and according to this study, when you use it, it has a 50/50 chance of killing you. Great economics.
(Saying everything is/should be based on market forces is about as rational as basing petrol prices on astrology and health systems on hot air. It's delusive, as the oil price rises keep explaining to everyone on Earth.They also get paid about half a million a year to say that. Real economists aren't convinced that driving costs through the roof on a daily basis is such a good idea.)
Carbon can be made harmless enough in just about any stable form, but if you activate it, like by setting fire to it, you get highly active things like carbon monoxide. Real poison.
Researchers obtained pollution readings from the areas they lived and found those exposed to higher levels of small particulates in the year before diagnosis were more likely to develop blood clots.
The Archives of Internal Medicine report said for every 10 microgrammes per square metre increase in small particulates, the risk of developing a DVT went up by 70%.
Cars using petrol are a natural producer of these chemical byproducts. So are many common household products. The New Orleans trailer debacle is the classic case of domestic fume production. Both technologies are hangovers from the past, relics of the 1950s, when global pollution really took off.
I’ve always thought the global plague of respiratory diseases in the 20th century, which was previously almost unknown outside industrial areas, was simply a result of overloaded lungs and windpipes trying to cope with millions of tons of car exhausts and industrial pollution. Can't say I wanted to be proved right by a study giving everyone an even money chance of serious disease, though.
…And it’s all completely avoidable.
Just use something safe.
More about Pollution, Deep vein thrombosis, Micro particulates