If being stuck in traffic seems to elevate your blood pressure, the stress of driving could be only partly to blame. In a laboratory setting, volunteers breathing pollutants generated by sources such as vehicle engines experience slight but steady increases in blood pressure, researchers report.
The effect disappears quickly when exposure ends, at least in healthy people, Bruce Urch of the University of Toronto and his fellow investigators say. But researchers call the newly observed effect consistent with past findings that link acute cardiovascular problems, including fatal heart attacks, to short-term contact with airborne particles.
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