Pollution Can Change Your DNA in 3 Days,
While the study focused on work air breathed by foundry workers, scientists say the air that city dwellers breathe may be just as damaging. The air is filled with particulate matter -- tiny bits of dust, metal, or soot that can lodge deep in the lungs. Exposure is linked to respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and heart problems.
Scientists know very little about how particulate matter causes health problems. What they have learned is that DNA can be damaged by a slowed rate of "methylation." Methylation is the process in which our body organizes genes into different chemical groups.
Fewer chemical groups means that fewer genes are made into proteins. Protein is a crucial process in the body's regular maintenance.
Reduced-size gene groups have also been found in the blood DNA of lung cancer patients.
John Heffner is
professor of medicine at Oregon
Health and Science University.
Heffner, who did not participate in
the research, said the study
strengthens the link between air
particulates and lung cancer.,
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