Researchers from Edinburgh University have found that people who are exposed to tiny chemical particles emitted by diesel exhaust fumes could be more likely to suffer heart attacks.
According to theBritish Heart Foundation-funded study, these particles are harmful to blood vessels and raise the tendency of the blood to clot, causing heart attacks or stroke.
As part of the study, researchers compared the effect of gases found in diesel fumes, like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, with that caused by tiny chemical particles from exhausts in a group of healthy volunteers.
They found that blood vessels did not function normally in the volunteers after they breathed in the tiny particles.
This harmful effect of the tiny particles on blood vessels could be prevented by first passing the fumes through a special particle trap fitted to vehicles.
Dr Mark Miller, of the university's centre for cardiovascular science, said: "In the future we can try and remove these chemicals, and prevent the health effects of vehicle emissions."
Copyright © Press Association 2011