New findings show that traffic pollution, a common culprit in health issues, is now linked to obesity. Black carbon, an air particle found in traffic-related air pollution, may have ties to unhealthy levels of leptin. Leptin is a hormone that affects body weight and can be a contributing factor to obesity. A recent study found results showing that older adults who have long-term exposure to high levels of black carbon fiber also had higher levels of leptin.

11_28 - City Traffic - FBConducted at Brown University by Gregory Wellenius, the environmental study found a 27 percent increase in leptin levels for older adults with the highest exposure to black carbon. Approximately 765 Boston residents were studied for black carbon exposure as well as levels of leptin and obesity to come to this conclusion.

The study suggested a demographic link, as well. Out of the 765 Bostonians studied, ethnic minorities and those with lower incomes showed the greatest exposure to black carbon. Additionally, the participants with higher exposure to black carbon had higher levels of other health issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This suggests that living near a high number of roads can result in unhealthy levels of black carbon exposure.

Although more research is needed to establish a definite link, this study sheds more light on the established connection between risk of heart disease and traffic-related air pollution. Additionally, this study could help to constitute a link between traffic pollution and negative cardiometabolic effects. Some of these cardiometabolic risks include:

  • Diabetes
  • Strokes
  • Heart Disease

Black carbon is just one of many dangerous toxins in the environment. Stay aware of harmful emissions that damage the environment, such as coal ash pollution.