Exposure to air pollution particles at mountaintop mining sites may lead to cardiovascular dysfunction, study finds

October 10, 2012

A published study by researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine and School of Public Health is the first of its kind to suggest that exposure to air pollution particles from mountaintop mining sites may impair the blood vessels' ability to dilate, which may lead to cardiovascular disease.

Air pollution particulate matter consisting largely of sulfur and silica was collected through a vacuum system within one mile of an active mountaintop mining site in southern West Virginia. Adult male rats were exposed to the , and, 24 hours following the exposure, their blood vessels' ability to dilate and function normally was significantly reduced.

"This is the first study of this kind to directly associate mountaintop mining air pollution with a lack of vascular function. West Virginians who live near mountaintop mining sites are exposed to comparable levels of air pollution, and, with pre-existing health conditions in West Virginia, certain populations are pre-disposed to cardiac distress," Tim Nurkiewicz, Ph.D., associate professor in the WVU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, said. "It is going to be foreseeably worse for those individuals who live near mountaintop mining sites."

This is the first of a series of translational studies, and the second phase of the study will be to examine specific bodily organs that are affected or stressed by air , Dr. Nurkiewicz said.

Explore further: Air pollution damages more than lungs: Heart and blood vessels suffer too

More information: Knuckles, T. et al. "Air pollution particulate matter collected from an Appalachian mountaintop mining site induces microvascular dysfunction". Microcirculation.

Related Stories

City Kids May Breathe Easier in the Country

March 10, 2009

Children with asthma have an easier time breathing if they spend even a few days in the country, safeguarded from urban air pollution, a study led by Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of ...

New study documents cumulative impact of mountaintop mining

December 12, 2011

Increased salinity and concentrations of trace elements in one West Virginia watershed have been tied directly to multiple surface coal mines upstream by a detailed new survey of stream chemistry. The Duke University team ...

Recommended for you

Biomarkers may help better predict who will have a stroke

August 24, 2016

People with high levels of four biomarkers in the blood may be more likely to develop a stroke than people with low levels of the biomarkers, according to a study published in the August 24, 2016, online issue of Neurology, ...

Amyloid-related heart failure now detectable with imaging test

August 24, 2016

A type of heart failure caused by a build-up of amyloid can be accurately diagnosed and prognosticated with an imaging technique, eliminating the need for a biopsy, according to a multicenter study led by researchers at Columbia ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.