29 Jan '15, 7pm

Air pollution actually messes with your genes

Breathing nasty urban pollution does more than clog up your lungs — it actually messes with your genes. This disturbing news comes from a paper published last month, and could change the way we think about pollution. The study’s author, University of British Columbia researcher Chris Carlsten, put volunteers in a walled-in smog aquarium, exposed them to levels of air pollution similar to those found in the world’s most polluted cities, and then looked for changes at the level of the human genome. (Science!) Carlsten’s homemade pollution is technically just diesel exhaust — none of the nasty particulate matter that makes coal-burning countries’ smog especially deadly — but it’s plenty potent all the same, full of the kinds of volatile polycarbonates that we usually try to avoid. Study participants steep in them for two hours, riding a stationary bike for some of the time, b...

Full article: http://grist.org/living/air-pollution-actually-messes-wit...

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