Air pollution apparently has short and long-term ill effects on the health and resiliency of blood vessels, according to a study.
In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and Air Pollution Study, the researchers used ultrasound-guided measurements of blood-vessel diameter and responsiveness in 3,501 participants.
They recorded air pollution levels in six urban U.S. regions the day before the blood vessel measurements were taken and estimated annual exposure to fine particulate air pollution.
The results link long-term exposure to air pollution with both forearm-artery narrowing and a reduced ability of these arteries to adjust to normal changes in blood flow.
On the other hand, short-term exposure to air pollution only appeared to affect artery narrowing.
The study suggests that both types of changes may be early cardiovascular disease risk factors affected by the environment.