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

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.

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New study documents cumulative impact of mountaintop mining

Dec 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

New remote patient monitoring devices available

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Several new remote patient monitoring devices with useful applications are available or under development, according to an article published July 8 in Medical Economics.

Monitoring pulse after stroke may prevent a second stroke

14 hours ago

New research suggests that regularly monitoring your pulse after a stroke or the pulse of a loved one who has experienced a stroke may be a simple and effective first step in detecting irregular heartbeat, a major cause of ...

User comments