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The Virginia Engineer's Feature Articles

Study Demonstrates Toxicity of Nano-Sized Air Pollutants

May, 2008

Patients prone to heart disease may one day be told by physicians to avoid not only fatty foods and smoking but air pollution too.

A new academic study led by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers has revealed that the smallest particles from vehicle emissions may be the most damaging components of air pollution in triggering plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. The findings appear in a recent online edition of the journal Circulation Research.

The scientists identified how pollutant particles may promote hardening of the arteries — by inactivating the protective qualities of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol.

A multicampus team from UCLA, the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Cali