Especially if you’re burning oil

No one is arguing that auto emissions are actually good for you, but this doesn’t sound promising at all:

The American Heart Association’s journal on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology has concluded that high levels of vehicle emissions can cause high cholesterol in mice, which could indicate that air pollution is a contributing factor in high cholesterol or vascular disease.

In the study, mice were exposed to diesel exhaust for two weeks “at a particulate mass concentration within the range of what mine workers usually are exposed to” (according to UCLA), which, not surprisingly, had a negative effect on the bloodstream. First, the air pollution altered the HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein, a.k.a. “good cholesterol”) to the point that the positive properties of the protein were reduced and could lead to high levels of LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein, “bad cholesterol”) and hardening of the arteries.

Now I wonder if the price of a California smog certificate can be covered by health insurance.

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3 comments

  1. Jeff Brokaw »

    22 May 2013 · 9:47 pm

    The test used diesel exhaust but does not specify – I read the source article plus the two it linked to – if this means modern “clean diesel” like the VW TDI, or the disgusting black smoke that comes out of diesel trucks and is a known health hazard. That’s a pretty important detail, in light of the fact that very few cars use diesel but all trucks do, and that overall, today’s cars run nearly pollution-free.

    Today’s air quality is measurably and unequivocally cleaner than it was in the 70s. Why do we keep pretending otherwise? The American Heart Association should do us all a favor and forget about car exhaust, and wake up to a reality in its own domain: that restricting salt intake is a pretty bad idea for most people and can have dangerous health consequences.

  2. CGHill »

    22 May 2013 · 9:54 pm

    “Today’s air quality is measurably and unequivocally cleaner than it was in the 70s. Why do we keep pretending otherwise?”

    Think of it as a provision of the Full Employment for Bureaucrats Act.

  3. McGehee »

    23 May 2013 · 8:58 am

    What kind of mine are they talking about when they say, “at a particulate mass concentration within the range of what mine workers usually are exposed to”?

    Deep coal mines, for example, use specialized motor vehicles to transport workers horizontally, and the mining equipment itself is motorized.

    On the other hand, open-pit mines also use motor vehicles — the kind with tires bigger than my truck — but out in the open(-pit) air.

    The meaning of “what mine workers usually are exposed to” is dependent on such things.

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