Thursday, July 26, 2007

Diesel fumes and clogged arteries -- why we need to clean up existing diesel engines

Diesel Fumes Help Clog Arteries07.26.07

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists say they've spotted the biochemical process that makes diesel exhaust so dangerous to human arteries.

An interaction between the fine particles found in diesel exhaust and the fatty acids in LDL ("bad") cholesterol activates genes that then cause inflammation in blood vessels, a team from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) report.

This process accelerates atherosclerosis -- a buildup of fatty deposits that can eventually lead to complete vessel blockage, according to the study in the July 26 online issue of Genome Biology...

"This study is more evidence of why we need to become more aggressive in cleaning up existing diesel engines," said Frank O'Donnell, director of Clean Air Watch, a private organization.

Chances that diesel engines will be used as commonly in the United States as in Europe, where they are found in many cars, are slim, because U.S. pollution standards are tougher, O'Donnell said.

"The real big problem remains the many thousands of diesel engines in construction equipment, old trucks and buses," he said. "The biggest bang for the buck would come from cleaning up existing diesel engines."

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