As part of the study Chang-Chuan Chan and colleagues investigated the effect of common urban air pollutants on biological markers for inflammation, oxidative stress, coagulation and autonomic dysfunction in 76 healthy Taiwanese college students.
The researchers collected blood samples and performed electrocardiograms on each subject approximately every 30 days for the months of April, May and June in either 2004 or 2005. They then correlated the sample dates and time with monitoring data from a fixed-site air monitoring station on the students' campus. The concentrations of common urban air pollutants were averaged over 24, 48 and 72 hours.
The study found that significant increases in all indices of cardiovascular risk were associated with increased exposure to common pollutants.
"This study provides evidence that urban air pollution is associated with systemic inflammation/oxidative stress, impairment of the fibrinogenic system, activation of blood coagulation and alterations in the autonomic nervous system in young, healthy humans," Chan said.
The findings of the study were published in the August issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.