Ever since the odd-even rule came into existence in India (New Delhi), a lot of talks are taking place on the growing ill-effects of vehicular pollution. The Supreme Court of India went on to ban all diesel cars above 2000 cc in the capital of India, creating a stir among the car manufacturers. And now, a report published by Journal of Investigative Dermatology is presenting the industry in a bad light.
For the first time ever, JID investigated the NO2 coming "principally from motor vehicle exhaust and stationary sources such as electric utilities and industrial boilers," and found stunning results. According to the report, the NO2 from the cars can cause "facial dark spots" generally known as the "liver spots". JID call these spots as the 'Lentigenes', making it the first physical evidence for the effects of pollution on human body.
"In addition to particulate matter, traffic-related air pollution is characterized by increased concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). While NO2 exposure is known to be associated with low lung function and lung cancer, the effect of NO2 on human skin has never been investigated. This is important because environmentally-induced lung and skin aging appear to be closely related," says lead investigator Jean Krutmann, MD, IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Dusseldorf, Germany.
Researchers took a sample size of 1,500 women from Germany and China. After various tests, they found that, "exposure to NO2 was significantly associated with more lentigenes on the cheeks in both German and Chinese women older than 50 years." They assert that while these liver spots are "generally benign," chances are "some forms may be pre-cancerous."
While researchers in the past have found that the lentigenes are formed by pollution, they were unable to define the exact source of lentigenes. The study conducted was to find whether the particulate matter or the NO2 have more effect, and they came out with the result that the NO2 has more effect on the human body in case of the dark spots than the particulate matter.
But it's not only the dark spots that is the ill effect of the vehicular pollution, but a lot more happens to a human body when in prolonged touch of the vehicle exhaust. Diseases like Asthma and Lung Cancer can also severely damage the human body. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has found that more than 9,000 Californians die each year from pollution by cars and trucks.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest epidemiological study demonstrating a link between traffic-related air pollution and the formation of lentigenes," says co-investigator Li Jin, PhD, Fudan University's State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering and Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Contemporary Anthropology, Collaborative Innovation Center for Genetics and Development, School of Life Sciences, Shanghai, China, and the Fudan-Taizhou Institute of Health Sciences, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China. "The findings also strengthen the concept that the pathogenesis of lentigenes might differ depending on the anatomical site."