Say a Big No to diesel

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Say a Big No to diesel

New Delhi, 14th November 2017: Vehicular emissions are a well-recognized source of air pollution. Diesel vehicles contribute more to air pollution by releasing particulates directly into the air and by emitting nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, which transform into “secondary” particulates in the atmosphere

Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, National President IMA & President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon Honorary Secretary General IMA, in a joint statement said, “Emissions from diesel vehicles are alarmingly high and contribute in a major way to nitrogen oxides and particulate matter in the air. Incomplete combustion of diesel fuel generates soot or particulate matter. About 80-95% of diesel soot is ultrafine particulates, which are less than 0.1 microns in size and can travel deep into the lungs and exert their harmful effects by inducing inflammation. More children may have asthma in the future.”

Diesel exhaust is the gaseous exhaust plus any contained particulate matter. Nitrogen emissions from diesel vehicles form ground level ozone, which is a health hazard. Ozone pollution increases risk of respiratory health problems such as asthma. Diesel is a major source of nitrogen oxide.

Industrial toxicants in the air have been also linked to Parkinson’s disease and deterioration of cognitive functions.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal said, “It is important that the public is aware of the toxic pollutants emitted from diesel engines and say a Big No to diesel. This way, they can contribute to efforts in controlling the escalating problem of air pollution. It is our responsibility to educate the public about the harmful health effects of diesel exhaust fumes.”

Dr TK Joshi, Director, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health said, “Diesel exhaust has been classified as Class I carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) based on compelling evidence that exposure to diesel exhaust increases risk of lung cancer. The risk increases proportionately with the extent of exposure. So we expect to see more cases of lung cancer in future. A positive association between diesel exhaust and increased risk of bladder cancer has also been observed.”

Children, the elderly, pregnant women, smokers and those who have preexisting heart and respiratory conditions are generally considered as vulnerable to air pollution and so they must be cautious. But, a new research done by the US-based National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has shown that the impact of air pollution may be trans generational when the fetus is exposed to air pollution. This has come as a revelation and is a very disturbing development”, Dr Joshi further added.

Air pollution increases the risk of diabetes

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Air pollution has been dominating headlines in the past few days and has been at an all time high in Delhi. The air quality in Delhi continues to remain in the severe category with no respite. There is increasing evidence for the role of environment in pathogenesis in many diseases with air pollution emerging as the largest environmental health risk globally. Exposure to the toxic air can affect the lungs blood vascular system brain and the heart leading to significant adverse health effects and associated high overall morbidity and mortality. Environmental pollution with traffic associated pollutants gaseous nitrogen dioxide especially high particulate matter PM 2.5 exposure has been linked with risk of incident diabetes. Several studies have shown a positive association between long term exposure to air pollution and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Individuals who have prediabetes are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. According to the WHO the air content of PM2.5 should be less than 10 956 g m3 but in India the levels are always more than 60 956 g m3 as 60 956 g m3 concentration has been accepted as normal in India. That means that an Indian is already six times more exposed to PM2.5. However recently extremely high levels of PM2.5 crossing 400 have been recorded. The risk of future diabetes associated with exposure to 10 956 g cu mm increase of PM2.5 ranges between 10 and 27 Endocrine. 2016 Jan 51 1 32 7 . Any particulate matter of less than 2.5 m in size can get absorbed from respiratory system enter into the blood. The exact mechanisms as to how air pollution causes diabetes Air pollutants are hypothesized to exert their effects via impaired endothelial function elevated systemic inflammation mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress all of which are hallmarks of type 2 diabetes Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jul 26 7 384 94 . Increased oxidative stress leads to insulin resistance 946 cell dysfunction impaired glucose tolerance and ultimately type 2 diabetes. India has the second highest number of people living with diabetes 69.2 million with a prevalence of 8.7 . China has the highest number of people living with diabetes with 109 million cases of diabetes in the year 2015 and a prevalence of 10.6 . This scenario calls for high priority action to minimize the air pollution to contain the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes in the country. The responsibility towards this end lies with each one of us as it does with the government.