Study to investigate small air particles

June 4, 2004 at 8:29 PM
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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 4 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said they will study the relationship among the inhalation of small particles, reduced heart rate variability and death.

Evidence shows breathing in small particles from substances like tobacco smoke can cause complications for people with decreased heart rate variability -- which refers to the beat-to-beat alterations on a micro-second time scale. A direct link has never been established.

The two-year study being planned by researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will involve 40 participants who will be exposed to three common indoor air pollutants: cooking oil fumes, tobacco smoke and wood smoke. The researchers will simultaneously measure respiration, particle concentrations and heart rate variability, Roger Jenkins of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory said in a statement.

A major flaw in earlier studies was that researchers typically measured outdoor particle concentrations, when most people spend the majority of time inside, Jenkins said.

Jenkins and his colleagues believe the study is very important because of new, stricter Environmental Protection Agency particulate matter standards, which set limits regarding the acceptable quantities of pollutants in the air.

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