Chemical particles in diesel exhaust fumes could increase the risk of heart attacks, new research has suggested.
Edinburgh University scientists found minuscule particles produced by burning diesel can increase the chance of blood clots forming in arteries. The blood clots can then lead to heart attacks or stroke.
The team measured the impact of diesel exhaust fumes on a group of healthy volunteers at levels found in heavily polluted cities. The volunteers' reaction to gases found in diesel fumes, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, were compared with their reactions to tiny chemical particles found in the exhausts.
It was found that the particles, and not the gases, impaired the function of blood vessels.