Cars are bloody awful for your health. Not only do they poison our lungs and cause kidney problems, it appears our multi-wheeled death wagons can also cause high levels of cholesterol — in animals, at least.
The American Heart Association’s journal on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology has concluded that high levels of vehicle emissions can increase cholesterol, hinting air pollution plays a part in high cholesterol or vascular disease.
During the study, mice were pumped with diesel exhaust fumes for 14 days “at a particulate mass concentration within the range of what mine workers usually are exposed to,” according to UCLA.
Unsurprisingly, this made them quite ill. The air pollution altered the rodents’ HDL (high-density lipoprotein – or ‘good’ cholesterol) levels until they weren’t so good any more: The positive properties of the protein reduced to the point where it could lead to high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein – or ‘bad’ cholesterol) and hardening of the arteries.
Obviously, not all of us are exposed to exhaust fumes at concentrations that mine workers breathe, and even fewer of us are have pink noses, hairy backs and tails, but the results show once again, as if we needed reminding, that the stuff being guffed out the back of cars is pretty awful.