Scientists Warn of Links Between Soil Pollution and Heart Disease
When we think of maintaining heart health, diet and exercise is typically what comes to mind. Scientist from the European Society of Cardiology published a paper on July 1st with one surprising culprit of heart disease: polluted soil!
"Soil contamination is a less visible danger to human health than dirty air," said author Professor Thomas Münzel of the University Medical Center Mainz, Germany. "But evidence is mounting that pollutants in soil may damage cardiovascular health through a number of mechanisms including inflammation and disrupting the body's natural clock."
Pollution of air, water and soil is responsible for at least nine million deaths each year. More than 60% of pollution-related disease and death is due to cardiovascular disease such as chronic ischaemic heart disease, heart attack, stroke and heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias).
Researchers with the European Society of Cardiology summarize the study by pointing to heavy metals, plastics, and fertilizer as the leading cause to cardiovascular disease; these pollutants are know to increasing oxidative stress in the blood vessels which means inflammation and disruptions in the body's clock (circadian rhythm).
They go on to theorize that globalization of the food supply chain leads to cyclical issues of pollution - foods come in plastic containers, which breakdown and further pollute food sources. These problematic pollutants are released from the soil into the air and are found in fruit, vegetable, and meat supplies.
According to the paper: While there are no population studies on the cardiovascular health effects of nano- and microplastics in humans, research has shown that these particles can reach the bloodstream, making it plausible that they could travel to the organs and cause systemic inflammation and cardiometabolic disease.
Read the entire study summary here.
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