Inhaling diesel fumes may be MORE dangerous for women than men

Inhaling diesel fumes may be MORE dangerous for women than it is for men, study finds

  • While inhaling diesel fumes is a risk for everybody, researchers found that women could suffer more of a risk
  • After long exposure to the fumes, researchers found that women had higher levels of 90 proteins
  • These proteins are tied to an increased risk of circulatory system issues like heart disease and blood clotting
  • Air pollution caused by combustion engine cars has been linked to issues like lung cancer, COPD and asthma  

Women may suffer more from air pollution caused by the burning of diesel, a new study finds, though researchers are not sure why.

A team from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, found that women had different levels of 90 proteins after being subject to pollution when compared to their male counterparts, and that these increased levels put that at a higher risk of pollution-caused illnesses like asthma and COPD.

These proteins are known to have a role in the development of conditions like heart disease and blood clotting, along with the general damage to the lungs exposure to pollution causes to all people. 

Many respiratory illnesses are also known to affect women differently than they do men, though experts are not sure why that is the case either. These findings could help further investigation into how the two sexes differently react to pollution.

While inhaling diesel fumes is a risk for everybody, researchers found that women could suffer more of a risk or suffering issues in the circulatory system (file photo)

‘[The findings] show that exposure to diesel exhaust has different effects in female bodies compared to male and that could indicate that air pollution is more dangerous for females than males,’ Neeloffer Mookherjee, a professor at the university said in a release.

Researchers, who presented their findings over the weekend at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Barcelona, Spain, gathered data from 10 people for the study.

Five of the participants were male, while five were female. None were smokers and all were considered to be in good health.

Each participant spent four hours breathing filtered air, and then another four hours breathing air polluted by diesel exhaust fumes.

The level of pollution in the air was split into three categories based on the prevalence of fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5.

Each had a stage of 20 PM 2.5 per cubic meter, 50 PM 2.5 and 150 PM 2.5. The stages were split by four-week periods in between where the impact the pollution would have had on their body would likely resolve.

A full 24 hours after each exposure period, participants would have a blood sample drawn.

A liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was performed on each sample to to determine levels of certain proteins in each person’s blood stream.

Researchers were able to identify 90 proteins that had significantly different levels in the female study population that they did the males.

Elevated levels of these proteins put the women at an increased risk of suffer heart issues and damage to their immune system.

Why exactly this is the case in unknown, though. There is no existing medical literature that explains why a woman may suffer more from diesel pollution than another person.

‘We need to know a lot more about how females and males respond to air pollution and what this means for preventing, diagnosing and treating their respiratory disease,’ Mookherjee explained.

The proteins detected by researchers are associated with issues related to the circulatory system, but researchers wonder whether women could also be at more risk from suffer respiratory conditions as a result of diesel pollution than their peers.

Air pollution is a significant risk factor for conditions like asthma, lung cancer and COPD. Fumes from combustion engine powered vehicles are known culprits for much of the pollution in the U.S. that causes these issues, with studies even finding that people who live near major highways or other busy roads suffering higher rates of respiratory disease than their peers.

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