A study of brain tissue samples has found small pollution particles stuck to the tissues, a BBC report said, quoting a study. These particles could be toxic since they are iron oxide and could also give rise to diseases like Alzheimer’s, a fact yet to be proved.
These findings, led by scientists at Lancaster university and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have brought forward graver effects of pollution in the cities. While earlier studies focused on the harmful effects of polluted air in respiratory systems, this study brings to the fore the existence of magnetite, a minute particle found in air pollution that can get attached to brain tissue.
The researchers did a magnetic extraction of the particle attached to the issue, resulting in it breaking into a million particles. A million such particles on a small tissue can cause great damages to the health of a person.
The particles are of a distinct jagged shape, which provides a solid clue about its formation. These smooth and round particles have characteristics that come into being only when the particles are formed in a high temperature condition, such as found in vehicle engine or braking system.
These particles are also dangerous in the sense that they do not get trapped by the lining in the nose. They are small enough to pass through the nasal passage and reach the lungs, causing respiratory damage.
The World Health Organisation had warned earlier in 2016 that pollution caused at least three million premature deaths every year. The BBC reported that an estimated 50,000 people have died due to pollution related causes in the UK every year.