Links found between soil pollution and heart disease


Links found between soil pollution and heart disease

Pesticides and heavy metals in soil can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, according to a review article published in the journal Cardiovascular research. As noted by study author Professor Thomas Münzel of the University Medical Center Mainz, “there is growing evidence that soil pollutants can impair cardiovascular health through a number of mechanisms. , including inflammation and disruption of the body’s natural clock.”

Air, water and soil pollution is responsible for at least nine million deaths every year, of which more than 60% are due to cardiovascular diseases such as chronic ischemic heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). The authors state that soil contaminated with pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides and plastics can lead to cardiovascular disease by increasing oxidative stress in blood vessels, causing inflammation and disrupting the biological clock (circadian rhythm).

Dirty soil can enter the body by inhaling desert dust, fertilizer crystals, or plastic particles. Heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, plastics, and organic toxins (eg, in pesticides) can also be consumed orally. Soil pollutants flow into rivers and create dirty water, which can be consumed. Pesticides have also been linked to a high risk of cardiovascular disease and, while employees in the agricultural and chemical industries are most at risk, the general public can ingest pesticides from contaminated food, soil and water.

Cadmium is a heavy metal found naturally in small amounts in air, water, soil and food, and also comes from industrial and agricultural sources. Food is the main source of cadmium in non-smokers. The article cites a Korean study showing that middle-aged Koreans with high blood cadmium levels were at high risk for stroke and hypertension.

Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal that contaminates the environment through mining, smelting, manufacturing and recycling. Studies have found associations between high blood lead levels and cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke, in women and people with diabetes. Other studies have indicated a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease associated with exposure to arsenic, a naturally occurring metalloid whose levels can increase due to industrial processes and the use of contaminated water to irrigate cultures.

“Although heavy metal pollution of soil and its association with cardiovascular disease is particularly a problem for low- and middle-income countries since their populations are disproportionately exposed to these environmental pollutants, it becomes a problem for no one. any country in the world due to the increased globalization of food supply chains and the absorption of these heavy metals with fruits, vegetables and meat,” the study authors wrote.

The potential hazards of airborne contaminated dust are also noted. Desert dust can travel long distances, and research has shown that soil particles in China and Mongolia have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks in Japan. The number of cardiovascular emergency room visits in Japan was 21% higher on days with high Asian dust exposure.

“More studies are needed on the combined effect of multiple soil pollutants on cardiovascular disease, because we are rarely exposed to a single toxic agent,” Münzel said. “Research is urgently needed on how nano- and microplastics could trigger and exacerbate cardiovascular disease. Until we know more, it seems like a good idea to wear a face mask to limit exposure to windblown dust, filter water to remove contaminants, and buy food grown in soil. healthy.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/pingpao

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